Clothes Less Traveled offers many ways to give back
What are you going to share today?
Giving season lasts year round in Fayette County, where generous people support many charities and causes, and where neighbors helping their neighbors is a way of life. This is how we live. This is what we do.
An organization provides a stop all under one roof to give back. We simultaneously support many local nonprofits when we donate, shop, or volunteer at Clothes Less Traveled, often referred to as CLT.
“The incredible impact of CLT is the opportunity to give back in so many wonderful ways,” said Barbara Harrison, new chair of the organization’s board. “Very few organizations offer this.”
If your New Years Resolutions involve giving back, or you’re looking for meaningful ways to connect with the community, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to do so at Clothes Less Traveled.
Make a generous donation
The cycle begins with our gifts. When we bring lightly used items to CLT’s 25,000 square foot store on Highway 74 S in Peachtree City, the proceeds from those donations become grants to community charities. At CLT, the result of your downsizing or decluttering serves many people, as well as paving the way for the next stage in your life.
The four dollars they raise for the perfectly decent blender you’ve replaced with something more sophisticated turns into meaningful support for nonprofits like Fayette Senior Services and Joseph Sams School.
“People appreciate their donations and they want to give things to someone who will continue to use or reuse them,” says Barbara.
She tells the story of a couple who came over and asked to speak to someone about their 12 piece porcelain cutlery. They had been married for over 50 years and these treasures were more than plates and serving pieces. Their dishes represented a lifetime of special occasions. The couple wanted to be sure that someone would appreciate their worth.
Barbara explains that newlyweds who have never been able to afford a new set of fine china often come to CLT to look for options. Donations like this provide an alternative or allow a family or friend to give them something extraordinary.
Your donations can help a single mom back-to-school shopping or a college student furnish her dorm room. CLT also helps families who have gone through difficult times by providing vouchers for household items, furniture, etc. And with inflation rising daily, quality, reasonably priced items from CLT are precious to all of us.
Our generosity and our overflowing are in fact the genesis of everything for Clothes Less Traveled. It all started in Mary Ann Cox’s office at Holy Trinity Church, where her closet was full of clothes people brought for those in need in the area. So much so that when she opened the door to show Joan Velsmid the situation, bags and sacks fell on the floor. These two ladies have decided to fix this problem, and in 2022 CLT is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the solution they found.
Volunteer with joy
Which brings us to volunteering. Nothing is unpacked, sorted, shelved, evaluated or sold without the help of loyal volunteers. Opportunities to help abound for anyone with a few free hours a month.
“We love our volunteers! Barbara says, and she points out that there are many benefits to volunteering.
A simple Google search supports this claim, yielding the results of numerous studies which conclude that people who help others receive benefits for mental and physical health.
The Mayo Clinic reports that volunteering leads to lower rates of depression and anxiety, especially among people 65 and older. A study by Carnegie Mellon found that volunteer work is linked to reduced stress, which improves overall health. Other reports indicate that volunteering often increases physical activity and that those who volunteer regularly are less likely to develop blood pressure problems.
The CLT website also lists other benefits. For example, people of all ages have an interest in having a purpose and learning new things. There are plenty of opportunities in CLT to learn new skills or use the skills you have in creative and productive ways. High school students who volunteer at CLT are eligible for scholarships. And CLT enjoys hosting religious, school, and civic groups who wish to volunteer together.
“Volunteering makes you feel good and it’s a productive thing to do,” says Barbara.
What could be healthier? Retiring on the recliner or spending a few mornings a month tinkering in the electronics department at a place like CLT?
Do you feel isolated? You will find lots of new friends at CLT! Looking for a way to spend more time with the friends you already have? Join together to volunteer at CLT!
On an average day, you will find 12 volunteers contributing a total of 81 hours to CLT. Over the past five years, volunteers have dedicated over 134,000 hours of their time to CLT. They are the engine that keeps everything running in the community thrift store. All CLT asks is that the volunteers work four hours a month. The hours are flexible and the average length of the work shifts is three and a half hours.
Barbara emphasizes that shopping at CLT is not only economical, but also fun and good for the environment.
People love to redirect projects, she notes. Instead of buying something new, why not buy locally and reuse?
“Saving is sustainable and quite green,” says Barbara.
Recycling and reuse reduce waste in landfills. What’s not to like?
More good things
The circle comes full circle when the profits from the purchases we make at CLT are reinvested in the community through grants to local nonprofits.
If you are wondering exactly which charities are benefiting from it, you will find posters in the store highlighting some organizations that receive CLT grants. Places you know well, like Bloom Our Youth, The Joseph Sams School, and Fayette Humane Society, are featured.
Other beneficiaries for 2021 include:
Ecumenical Alliance One roof; Rescue Cats, Inc .; Community Foundation of Coweta, specifically for Newnan Tornado Relief;
Royal animal refuge; Bedford School; Fayette County Special Olympics; ClearWater Academy; Whiskers and paws; Services for the elderly Fayette;
Mission of the Armed Forces; CORRAL; Southern Conservation Trust; FOCUS + Fragile children; Humanitarian Society Fayette; Place of promise; Departments per square foot;
Linus Project; Fayette Pregnancy Resource Center; Children’s Village in Christian City; and Saint Vincent De Paul, Holy Trinity.
Even when the store was closed during the pandemic, CLT found a way to make in-kind donations to many organizations. At Piedmont Fayette Hospital, they provided karaoke and adult coloring books for the nurses’ lounge and CD players and music for the patients. They also donated blankets to pet shelters and clothing to Christian City Children’s Village.
A currency of sharing
Thanks to the generosity of donors, volunteers and clients, since 1977, CLT has donated more than $ 7 million to the good causes we love in and around Fayette County. It is an impressive and measurable statistic.
It’s harder to measure the difference CLT makes in the lives of those who donate, shop and volunteer there, but you can see it in the smiles on their faces. It is also difficult, if not impossible, to calculate the impact of grants paid to charities in our region. Nonetheless, you can know that when you donate, volunteer, and shop, your investment generates increased interest in the community you love.
Giving back is our way of life. This is what we do. And that is priceless.
What are you going to share?
There are many ways to give back to the community by donating, volunteering, and shopping at CLT.
If you have lightly used extras, the donation door is open at the back entrance of the store Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
If you have a few hours a month and want to help CLT, E-mail Michelle Brown, Volunteer Coordinator, or call (770) 486-8517 ext. 106.
If you’re looking for great value on clothes, housewares, books, electronics, furniture, linens, toys, and just about anything you can think of, CLT is open to you. buyers Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The store is located at 459 Highway. 74 South, next to Gil-Roy’s.
Visit The CLT website, dial 770-486-8517, or E-mail for more information.