Season of Giving: There is no shortage of ways to make a difference this year

| Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, 8:55 p.m.

It isn't hard to find a place to donate new or gently worn items to help others this holiday season, and according to several organizations in the area, donations always are appreciated.

In an effort to help make the season a little brighter for those in need, the Sewickley Herald is asking readers to contribute to Season of Giving — a holiday donation effort focused on helping families through a toy collection, clothing drives and food banks — all seemingly necessities during the holiday season.

And families especially are in need of warm clothing this holiday season.

Salvation Army

Every time a bag of clothing comes to the Salvation Army thrift store in Hopewell, Vicki Hall said workers there feel blessed.

Some of those clothes come from individuals or from Salvation Army bins placed all over the Pittsburgh area, including one outside Safran's Supermarket in Sewickley.

Clothing is picked up everyday to deliver to nearby Salvation Army thrift stores, including the Hopewell location at 3113 Green Garden Road.

People also are welcome to go to the thrift stores to donate clothing or to give a monetary donation.

New coats that are given directly to needy children also can be donated to Salvation Army offices at 378 Jefferson Street, Rochester, and 514 Franklin Ave., Aliquippa.

Hall said people also are given clothes vouchers when they receive financial or other types of assistant from the Salvation Army offices in Beaver, Rochester and Aliquippa. They can bring those vouchers to the thrift stores for free clothing.

Profits from the sale of clothes at the thrift stores helps those living at Salvation Army rehabilitation centers.

Center for Hope

Center for Hope, 740 Park Road, Ambridge, also collects clothing all year for its free clothes closet.

Sue Otto of Edgeworth, who shares duties as center's director with her husband, Dave, said the center's food pantry customers receive vouchers for the clothes and can chose a certain number of clothing items free.

Sue Otto asks that clothing be brought for the current season.

Winter clothes, especially larger adult sizes, now are needed. Donations should be placed on hangers, not in bags, so they won't wrinkle.

The clothes closet is open Wednesdays from 1 to 3 p.m. and Thursdays from 4 to 5:30 p.m

Side by Side Boutique

Free clothing for children is available at St. Stephen's Church's Side by Side Boutique, located in the Christy House, 403 Frederick Ave., Sewickley.

Those making donations are asked to deposit items in the coat closet located on the right side of the hall after entering the main front double doors at the church, 405 Frederick Ave., Sewickley.

Clothes are given free to single mothers at the boutique, which is open 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Mondays and 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Fridays. Needed most are sizes to 5 to 10 and coats, snow pants, boots, hats and gloves, as well as indoor clothing, are needed, along with boys clothing in sizes 4 and above.

Director Julie Cormick said the boutique has provided clothing for a woman who lost everything in a house fire; for a grandmother caring for her three grandchildren; for a young mother who just lost her job and for the first time in her life can't provide for her child; for a woman who is going back to school to try and make a better life for herself; and newborn clothing for a woman who chose to have her baby, against the wishes of the father and her parents.

One single mom, Tiffany Beckwith, who has two daughters, ages 8 and 10, said she never leaves the boutique empty handed.

“No one at St. Stephen's has ever treated our family in a way that would make us feel less. They treat my family with love and respect. They have a desire to greet each mom that comes through the doors with a smile, and never ever a downcast stare.”

Society of St. Vincent de Paul

Clothing also can be deposited in three Society of St. Vincent de Paul bins placed in the St. James Church parking lot, 200 Walnut St., Sewickley.

Although society members, John Nard and president Bob Brown said it is better to place gently worn items in good condition in the bins, other types of clothing can be de-threaded and recycled.

Bins are emptied every Monday.

Clothing is taken to the society's Penn Hills location, where it is sorted and distributed. Some will be given to five area St. Vincent de Paul thrift stores, such as the Coraopolis store at 415 Chess St., where another drop off box is located.

Part of the proceeds from the sale of clothes is used to help the needy, Nard said.

American Legion Post 450

James Fisher, commander of Walter Robinson American Legion Post 450 in Sewickley, has teamed up with George Dudley, executive director of Tyler Youth Group in Aliquippa, to collect and distribute new coats for toddlers and youths up to sizes 16/18.

The Sewickley Community Center also is helping with the project.

Dudley picks up the coats once a week. There is a limit of one coat per child.

The program is open to youth who meet income requirements. Drop-off times at Post 450 at 20 Chadwick St., Sewickley are: 4 to 11 p.m. Thursday; 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday; 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; and 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday.

All branches of Clearview Federal Credit Union, including Sewickley, also are accepting monetary donations to purchase coats.

Coat distribution will take place Dec. 20 to 23.

To register to receive a coat or for more information, call 724-923-3650.

World Vision

Volunteers also are needed at World Vision, 210 Overlook Drive, Aleppo, to help sort clothes donated by large and small businesses.

Most of the clothing will be sent to other countries, said Richard Curtis, corporate relations senior director.

Laura Kennedy, volunteer and intern coordinator, said those who would like to help can call her to schedule a time and day at 412-259-6026 or e-mail lkennedy@worldvision.org.

Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or jbarron@tribweb.com.

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