Clothes For A Chance
I went through a life change that prompted me to lose a lot of weight really rapidly. As a result of this I kept buying new clothes every 2 months. I live in the State of Wisconsin. If you google what every state is worst at, you will find that Wisconsin is notably notorious for incarcerating black people at an extremely disproportionate rate.
All of us have had friends that have been locked up for years. All of us have had to buy someone clothes at some point when they came back home. With my new weight loss and excess clothes, I wanted to take the stuff I couldn't fit anymore to a half-way house. That's like the mid-point between prison and home. The half-way house on 30th and Fond Du Lac told me that they cant take my old clothes. They said I should try the Milwaukee Secure Detention Facility (MSDF).
I took my clothes to MSDF and they too told me that they couldn't take my clothes. The guard at the door actually didn't know if they could or couldn't. He called upstairs and they radioed back that they couldn't take them. Then it dawned on me, they can't take them because they don't have a returns center. Think about it, Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc. They all give you a separate entrance for donations because they have to sanitize them. The State of Wisconsin would never put that kind of program in place for people to coordinate a donation center.
I made a social media post about how bad I felt that I can't give someone returning home from prison a pair of pants to wear. Resale shops do have programs in place for vouchers for people returning home from prison. Here's the problem for me though, my clothes don't go directly to that population. Even more, if they get to what I have donated, it has already been picked over. In the end I want to put my good fortune and weight loss to good use and let my clothes benefit someone else.
When I made that post a lot of my friends told me to get something together and that they would support me. That took me down a path to find somewhere I could actually get my clothes into someone's hands. I got to the Alma Center. Its a program in Milwaukee that has been working with 85 men before their release into this new program in January.
They have been working with them for months prior to January 2019 and after the first of the year they will have them on the ground working with them daily to transition home and lessen the strains of recidivism (going right back to jail). I want to provide these 85 men with enough clothes for them to have 7 outfits and 1 suit a piece.
Women chimed in and said we want to help women too. I don't have an organization yet, but I will take the clothes and we can get it worked out. I asked the Alma Center why men? They said there was a shortage of programs for men. Women who might come home to kids and families seemed to have more resources. I can jam with that, they have their mission and I have mine.
So here we are. Everyone has clothes that they can donate to me, we are gonna do well there. My uncle Fred has found a laundry service that will wash, dry, press, hang, and put the clothing sizes on the stuff that I bring in for $2 a pound. That's a really killer price. If we're talking jeans that's basically $1 a pair. However we need $595 dollars worth of jeans washed and that's just for the men.
Additionally we need clothing racks, storage, transportation and a little bit of labor to assemble the racks and hang a few thousand garments. Putting all of that into perspective, its going to take some money to move this program forward. I would love to see it take off and be self-sustaining, at bare minimum I want to be able to give the guys some clothes when they come home.
So here is where you can make a donation to the struggle. I am done quoting statistics, I am going to take action. These men also need housing, jobs, food and most of all a real home to come back to, not another fight. If we all just put our old clothes here at least we don't have to buy them new ones when they get home.
I will personally receive clothes every Sunday afternoon from 10AM - 2PM from October 14th until November 18th. You can of course bring cash or check donations, no food thanks, I'm going to leave that one up to someone else.
I appreciate your support and if you can't donate any money or clothes, sharing this for me so that someone who can help will see it. Thank you so very much for your support.
Chris "Godxilla" Taylor