Established in 2009, ClothesLine Incorporated distributes donated clothing directly to those who need it most. The organisation supports homeless and disadvantaged people by providing clothes and other essential items such as blankets and toiletries.
ClothesLine operates monthly at seven sites across the city – in Waterloo (in conjunction with OzHarvest), at Northcott estate in Surry Hills (with the NSW Department of Communities and Justice), at Martin Place (Phillip Street end), Parramatta (alongside Stepping Stones), Blacktown (with One Meal, Orange Sky and Street Medic), Mt Druitt (with Mission Australia) and Liverpool (with SWAG Family).
The not-for-profit organisation also supports a church-run food service in Menai, as well as overseas projects including emergency relief in Lebanon and a women’s prison in the Philippines.
ClothesLine does not receive any government funding and all staff are volunteers. There are currently 20 volunteers helping to sort and distribute items and offering personal service. Donors and sponsors, including UNIQLO Australia, ensure supply of good-quality clothing and essentials.
John Lanzky has been involved for about 10 months. As a volunteer, he helps coordinate service at clothing racks and tables, usually on Sundays from 4pm to 6pm.
“There are five or six volunteers each time,” Mr Lanzky explains. “Last week I served a 60-year-old woman who’d been sleeping rough for more than a year. It’s a small thing to offer a blanket and pillow, or new underwear, but it can mean a lot, helping someone to feel more comfortable.”
Chairperson Grace Condon started as a volunteer in 2012. She was formerly managing director of Amada-Amavic Pty Ltd and actively involved in business for many years. Ms Condon has worked with Meals on Wheels, the Ashfield Chamber of Commerce, Mrs Australia NSW – Crippled Children Society, and for 12 years was a senior social educator working alongside people with an intellectual disability.
Ms Condon says: “Our volunteers are working from the heart. All the other services we know are doing amazing work too. At ClothesLine we see the hardships people face, and we do our best to put things together for people – the right fashion items, colours and textures. Clothing is a necessity – there’s also joy in giving and receiving something high-quality and beautiful.
“People are offered three items each and can then come back for more when everyone has had a chance to find something special to wear,” Ms Condon continues. “It’s all about sharing, building relationships.
“We recently had a request for assistance from Darwin where many people are living with serious kidney disease. They might travel long distances for treatment – typically, dialysis takes five hours – and they get very cold. The request was for warm clothes – zip-front jackets, beanies, socks and gloves. So, we’re doing what we can to help.”
Donations of new and quality second-hand clothing are greatly appreciated. Please email Grace for directions to the warehouse: email@example.com/.
Financial support is appreciated, too. Donations help fund operating and distribution costs, which include telephones, IT equipment, warehouse storage, vehicles, fuel and maintenance. Money donations are tax deductible.