A used clothing collection company, originated in Western New York State, based locally in Portland, is now offering nonprofit groups a way to raise funds while helping not only the communities they serve, but people all over the world.

Pioneer Grange in Ridgefield, has the distinction of being selected as Washington’s first of many sites for used clothing collection bins to be placed in local communities.

Accepted items include clothing, shoes, sneakers, belts, purses, blankets, sheets, drapes, pillowcases and stuffed animals. Donors are asked to donate items in a plastic bag to protect against dirt and the elements. For those people who want to make a tax- deductible donation a small box on the shed holds clothing drop-off receipts.                      

According to Pioneer Grange project coordinator Dave Palenshus, “What is important to note about this particular program is that the used clothing is not shredded into textile bundles for reprocessing, like other used clothing programs – instead, the clothing is actually provided to those in need to be worn. And that includes our local community.

“This is a win-win for the area, and we hope everyone who finds they have used items such as clothing, shoes, drapes, belts, etceteras, thinks about dropping their items off at our collection bin,” Palenshus said.              

St. Pauly Textile Inc. was founded by friends Paul Callarame and Joe DeGeorge about 18 years ago. The company started by helping its local schools, churches and other organizations hold clothing drives and has expanded across the Northeast and now the Northwest, by providing nonprofits with used clothing drop-off sheds, where the clothing is dropped off, picked up by a St. Pauly representative, and then distributed to places of need in the U.S. and worldwide.

According to the company’s website, www.stpaulytextile.com, funding for the operation comes from the relief organizations, foreign governments, United Nations, private companies and the U.S. government that contract with St. Pauly to collect clothing when they need it, as opposed to purchasing new clothing.

In 2013, St. Pauly was able to help keep over 60 million garments out of landfills and helped clothe an estimated 7.5 million people worldwide. They were also able to send back over $850,000 to the more than 800 nonprofit community groups they work with.

Pioneer Grange is paid per pound of clothing collected by St. Pauly, helping raise funds for their “new roof’’ campaign for the 1929 building, formerly a two-room school house, and now a local meeting hall for events from speakers, to wedding receptions, and other civic organizations who need a local meeting venue.

Pioneer Grange No. 901, is located at 3803 NE 199th Street, Ridgefield. Other information or questions may be addressed to Pioneer Grange at (360) 887-4702.

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