BY CHUCK KUEPFER, Staff Reporter
ELMIRA — It was almost a year ago that a group from Elmira Community Church put their heads together to organize a clothing swap.
Now, with a pair of Kids & Teens Clothing Swaps under their belts, organizers say interest is growing.
“From our first swap last September to our spring swap last May we have more than triple the attendees, and interest seems to be steadily increasing,” said Lisa Vale, one of the event organizers.
A fall/winter swap has been planned for Saturday, Sept. 15 from 12:30-5 p.m. at the Woolwich Memorial Community Centre in Elmira.
The clothing swaps are inspired to help ease the costs parents face to clothe their children.
“The cost of kids clothing is going up and kids grow so quickly that the clothes are often outgrown before they’re worn out,” said Vale. “Elmira Community Church wanted to do something to help families with this cost, and the clothing swap was born.”
Those who participate in the swap are encouraged to bring what they have, then take they need.
“We’re accepting clean and gently used clothing and items of all sizes, newborn all the way up to adult sizes,” said Vale. “People just bring in clothes and items they no longer need or want and donate them to the swap. Then they browse and gather items that they might need and take them home, no charge.”
Clothing of all sizes in needed for the swap, along with shoes and other footwear, and outerwear (such as snowsuits, jackets and rain pants). Other acceptable items include fashion accessories (headbands, handbags, costume jewelry, etc.), baby essentials (blankets, strollers, etc.) and toys in good condition.
Volunteers are welcome to help on the day of the swap, as well as anyone who can collect items from friends and family to donate in advance, for sorting and sizing. Although items are brought in throughout the day, these early donations allow for a wide selection at the start of the swap.
Early drop-off is appreciated. Delivery and pick-up can be arranged by contacting co-organizer Lori Martin at 519-746-6573.
“Our goal is to continue running two clothing swaps annually, one in the fall and one in the spring,” said Vale. “We are looking forward to seeing the swaps continue to grow as more and more people hear about it.”
Organizers invite the public to check out the upcoming swap, especially if they haven’t before.
“They’ll be surprised at the quality and the wide selection,” said Vale. ”It’s also a lot of fun.”