Friday, April 11, 2008

Giving when it's tough to give...

I'm going to ramble as I try to capture all of the thoughts I've been trying to corral into a coherent article this morning. The problem is that there are so many facets of what I want to write about that I could do a series of blogs and still miss some profound thread that wafted through my head as I thought about this last night, all night off and on in fact.

Gotta try!

You're going to do a "huh?" and wonder why writing about this would be so tough when I tell you the topic! It's the Clothes Less Traveled (CLT) in Peachtree City, Georgia. I am one of the newest members of the Board for the CLT. I should say that I am privileged to be a member of the Board. I am going to love being a part of this group!

Let me tell you first a bit about CLT... it's a thrift shop started a bit over ten years ago by two ladies with huge hearts and great ability. CLT takes donations of items, organizes and spruces them up a bit if needed, pops a price tag on them and sells the clothes, furniture, household gadgets, toys, etc. to whoever walks through their doors.

But it goes beyond that.

CLT has partnerships with other non-profit organizations in the area. Items CLT can't sell are donated to non-profits, like the Salvation Army, to give or sell. Nothing (unless it should have been taken to the dump) is wasted. And... Other local charities and churches that partner with CLT are given credits or vouchers which allows them to send individuals over to pick up items at no cost or at a discounted cost. For instance, a family being helped by another organization, say Real Life in Tyrone, may need a television (although who really needs a television... but I'll save that for another blog ;-), clothing, dishes, utensils or other items. Real Life would call CLT, say they had an individual in need of clothes in order to get a job. The individual would come over with a voucher and shop for whatever was noted on the voucher.

There's more...

A big part of what CLT does is give all their money, above the cost of doing business, to local non-profits. Once a quarter our Board divvies up the dollars and writes checks to organizations with a demonstrated need.

Last night was my first "grant" night. What a blessing it was to be part of helping these groups who are doing so much to help others! What fun it was to be like a mini-Santa Claus for good. The organizations who will be receiving money from CLT are so deserving of all the help they can get. It made me want to work a bit harder to help just so there would be more money to hand out during the next grant cycle (it's in July, so non-profits should visit the website and get their grand aps in before the end of June, the earlier the better! Grant requests are on the website,

The Board runs a tight ship. There's a grant process, each grant is closely scrutinized and organizations requesting money are thoroughly vetted. Some of the beneficiaries of past donations from CLT have included Southwest Christian Hospice, Christian City, the Promise Place, and the Fayette Samaritans (click here for a longer list).

It was a privilege to sit in a room with a group of people who are so obviously committed to giving. They are doing more than talking the talk --- they are walking the walk, and unpacking, and unloading trucks, and sticking price tags on items, and volunteering at the store, and the action list goes on and on. It's a working board but it's clear that it's a joyful work for all --- each has a talent they bring to the table.

Now, finally, to the title of the blog, "Giving when it's tough to give".

CLT depends on donations of items from individuals (and probably companies, I haven't been around long enough to know whether there are businesses who donate their old computers, etc. yet). The more you donate, the more they sell, the more they're able to give. With times getting tougher as gas and food prices rise, giving money to charity is going to be a line item with a line through it for many. However, you can always clean out the closet, empty those boxes you stuffed in the attic or finally clean out the garage!

Here's the fun part... once you donate all your "stuff" you can shop and buy someone else's stuff. I can't begin to describe the nice things you'll find at CLT --- they're picky about what goes on the shelves and hangers so you're gonna find something to take home!

Don't have anything in the closet to give? Don't want to buy anything? Volunteer.

There is always a need for volunteers at CLT - you can volunteer for as little as three hours a month! Here's an added incentive to volunteer and to maximize your giving: One volunteer a month is selected to be the "Volunteer of the Month" (could have the title wrong, but hey, you get the idea ;-) At the end of the year those twelve top volunteers choose their favorite charity and a thousand dollars (or more) is given to the group in the volunteer's name. Just think... if your charity sent over enough stellar volunteers to help out they could conceivably, in a perfect world, with perfect volunteers, take home the whole $12,000 . (Well, yeah, that ain't gonna happen 'cause I'm going to be over there volunteering to get that $1,000 for my charity so you might have to settle for $11,000 ;-)

Think about it. You volunteer at CLT, so you're helping those who shop (brownie points), those who benefit from the dollars CLT donates (more brownie points), plus you might maximize your time donation by getting a $1,000 for your charity (mega brownie points).

Have I mentioned the scholarships? No? I'll save that for another blog, this is getting way, way too long! Clean out your garage. Shop at CLT. Volunteer to help three or more hours a month.

Give when it's tough to give, it'll do your heart good and won't burden your budget.

How to get there:
Clothes Less Traveled is located on the south side of Peachtree City at 459 Hwy. 74 S. The store is approximately 1.5 miles south of the Hwy 54/Hwy 74 intersection on the right, next to Gill-Roy's hardware store.
From Tyrone, Fairburn: Take Hwy. 74 south into Peachtree City. The store is approximately 1.5 miles south of the Hwy 54/Hwy 74 intersection on the right, next to Gill-Roy's hardware store.
From Newnan or Fayetteville: Take Hwy. 54 towards Peachtree City and turn south onto Hwy. 74. The store is approximately 1.5 miles south of the Hwy 54/Hwy 74 intersection on the right, next to Gill-Roy's hardware store.
From Brooks, Senoia: Take Hwy. 74 north and the store is on the left next to Gill-Roy's hardware store. For a detailed map click here

- Janet Dunn

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