Where to Donate Used Clothing to Abused Women Seeking Work

by Gail Sessoms
Donated business attire helps women in crisis make a good impression.

Donated business attire helps women in crisis make a good impression.

Donate clothing for unemployed abused women by contacting domestic violence organizations and other groups that provide services to these women. Women in domestic violence situations often leave home with few possessions or they need clothing to find a job and a way out of their circumstances. Donated clothing of good quality can provide abused women with the confidence needed to start over.

Clothing Sizes and Condition

Organizations that accept donated clothing for women looking for work request new or gently-used clothing in all sizes. Many groups express a need for more donations of larger sized clothing, such as plus-sized or size nine and up. Wash or dry-clean clothing before donating them to spare the nonprofit the expense. Ask for a receipt if you plan to claim a tax deduction for the donation.

Business Attire

Donate clothing appropriate for a conservative office environment, including business suits and shoes, and clothing suitable for a business casual dress code in less formal work environments. Donate separates such as jackets, sweaters, pants and skirts. Organizations also need accessories, such as purses and outerwear, and new pantyhose. Job-specific clothing, such as scrubs or work boots, help women start new jobs with less expense. Women escaping domestic violence often need the basics such as bras and underwear.

Domestic Violence Organizations

Domestic violence organizations provide one or more services, such as shelter, transitional services, counseling and employment assistance. Use the United Way’s 2-1-1 online charity search or find a local domestic violence shelter through an online search at DomesticShelters.org. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence provides information about local domestic violence organizations and resources.

Clothing Donation Organizations

Domestic violence organizations that do not accept clothing donations can refer you to a charity that accepts and provides donated clothing free of charge to people looking for work, including domestic violence survivors. The Junior League’s Bargain Shop thrift stores often provide free clothing vouchers to local nonprofits that women can use to shop for business wardrobes. Dress for Success, an organization with affiliates in more than 139 cities around the world, accepts business attire clothing donations for women. Check out your local career clothing donation organizations. For instance, an Internet search for “Philadelphia clothing donations” generates results that include Career Wardrobe, an organization that provides donated clothing to women looking for work.

Community Resources

Contact your local United Way or community foundation for help identifying local domestic violence needs, clothing donation organizations and programs that provide job readiness and search services. Community resources - - church outreach coordinators, local social services departments, homeless shelters, crisis centers and women’s transitional living programs - - can put you in direct contact with people or groups that can get your donated clothing directly to women who are rebuilding their lives after domestic violence. Contact your local police department and speak to a domestic violence contact about needs in your community and organizations that can use your donated clothing.

About the Author

Gail Sessoms, a grant writer and nonprofit consultant, writes about nonprofit, small business and personal finance issues. She volunteers as a court-appointed child advocate, has a background in social services and writes about issues important to families. Sessoms holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal studies.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images