A Donation Close to Home

A Donation Close to Home

Every day as Communications Officer at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS), I get to see people come through our doors. Some come with the unwavering dedication to earn their GED or learn English, others come in frantically searching for food or clothing. What’s empowering is that we help everyone. As stated in our mission, SFBFS is dedicated to assisting those in need by alleviating their immediate pain and problems (often finding food or clothing for themselves and their families) and moving them toward self-sufficiency and financial independence (earning a GED, learning English or securing a job).

SFBFS’ Clothing program is just one of 15 different programs and services offered at no cost to families in need in our community. Every day, our Donations Receiving area is open and ready to receive a variety of goods including clothing. Dedicated volunteers then have the task of sorting, hanging and displaying these items for our clients. I’ve seen several families come in with little ones looking for a new pair of pants, a new dress for school or new shoes because theirs have been worn down. These donations make such a difference in the lives of many of the individuals who find themselves without appropriate attire. In addition to our regular Clothing program offering men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, SFBFS offers a specialized program called JobSmart, designed specifically for individuals seeking job interview and work appropriate clothing. The best part? These items are given away to people who need them and never resold for our benefit.

I recently celebrated my first year at SFBFS and continue to share with my family all that I’m learning and all the ways we give back to our community. So, it was no surprise when I got a phone call from my Mom last week. “Elise, we have bags and bags of Nana’s clothing that we need to get rid of. I know so many people at your work go without and I’d love if we could donate them to Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services.”

To give a little background, my Nana is my grandmother. She was recently diagnosed with dementia and has been moved to an assisted living facility as she can no longer live safely on her own. This transition was incredibly hard for both my Nana (who up until about a month prior had lived in her own home, alone, since I can remember) and for my family. After weeks of cleaning out her home, we were left with countless clothing items for donation. I have to admit, seeing all of my Nana’s prized clothes wrapped up in garbage bags made my heart hurt. After picking them up in my hometown, an hour and a half away, I hauled them all the way back to Sacramento and knew that while my Nana was losing her independence, so many others would be provided with beautiful clothes to wear.

After about 3 hours of dropping off her items, I walked down from my office with curiosity. “I wonder if any of my Nana’s clothing has been sorted and hung up yet.” To my delight, our amazing Clothing program volunteers had taken care to sort and hang up each and every piece of clothing. It brought a little tear to my eye as I looked at all the clothes hung up and memories began to flood my mind as I sifted through the racks. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to give back and I know my Nana, even though her mind isn’t what it used to be, would be happy to know that her beloved clothes weren’t simply tossed away.

Submitted by: Elise Hawkins, SFBFS’ Communications Officer