Does it cost money to swap? At its simplest, you donate clothes/shoes/belts etc. that you no longer want and come away with new clothes/shoes/belts etc. that you do want. We are asking for $5/bag or pay what you can, to cover expenses, but If you donate or volunteer you can fill a bag for free. CASH ONLY please. Any money collected this way will go to Works-in-Progress.
What happens to leftover clothes? By sorting clothes as they come in, it makes it easier to find what you are looking for when you come to the swap and , after we have given locals a chance to swap, we redirect the leftovers. We were able to target clothes where they would be of most use locally, in Toronto. Volunteers delivered towels and duvets to the Humane Society, hoodies and sweatpants to Fred Victor, women's bras and professional clothing to New Circles, attractive clothes and shoes of all ages/sizes to the Yonge Street Mission storefront Double Take to support their front line work. As well, we redirected all winter outerwear to the TWO new Winter Clothing Free Shops we have set up in partnership with Building Roots at Moss Park Market and the staff at Beverly Heights MS. While sorting we set aside some donations for use in up-cycling projects/workshops: interesting prints, cottons, linens, wool as well as T-shirts, jeans and men's dress shirts AND set aside a "starter swap", to ensure that we have some attractive clothes for the Spring Swap. This means that over half of the donations were redistributed in Toronto. We also partnered with Bag2School who buy textiles by the ton (clean, dry, in any condition) and sell them overseas to be repurposed, resold or recycled. They took away 410kg of donations and paid the Hodgson Eco Club about $65. Finally, I brought our spring swap clothes to once upon a child, a consignment store who buy very few clothes, and they bought $50 worth of clothes. there are still plenty for the next swap.
Why are we doing this clothing drive & swap? We are fostering community, and helping the Earth by giving textiles a second life. Hope you can come out to the swap! See poster below and some background on the #eternalswapmeet below that.
What did we learn for next time? Every time we do one of these events, we get a little better. We suffered from the ETFO job action this time, which limited the partnership we could have with the Eco club and their awesome teachers, so more volunteers would have helped. A clearer sorting plan for the volunteers AND hosting a swap for the students in our host school would have been a welcome addition. Next time.
Big final Swap on January 22 at Hodgson MS, 262 Davisville Ave, in the cafeteria, after school (4pm-7pm)- Save the date!
We are coming to the end of our #eternalswapmeet. It's been a voyage of textile redistribution that included a series of clothing drives and swaps in partnership with 4 different institutions, We started with a clothing drive in early November 2019 and are mid drive at Hodgson PS (262 Davisville Ave,)... the drive will culminate with a giant swap event on January 22, after school until the school concert. AN UPDATE (as of 2020/01/13) due to ETFO job action the concert isn't happening, but the swap still is. Volunteers needed! please contact us if you can help sort in advance or on the night.
Some additions: the swap at Moss Park Market was successful despite some truly awful weather- we left part of it up through the "Do it Together" Workshop but took it down for the Holiday craft fair held at the same site. We set up a permanent corner for a mini FREE SHOP all January during markets on Saturdays. We will unclaimed items up for the Jan 22 swap at Hodgson then return (and add to) the Moss park free shop again.
We are partnering with three previous partners (the eco team from two public schools and Bag2School) as well as Building Roots and a new public middle school connected by a settlement worker, in 4 neighbourhoods (Oakwood/Vaughan, Mt. Pleasant East, Moss Park and Jane/Wilson) to have a series of swap events where volunteers can shop as they sort, as well as a more formal swap and gift bag making event for the holidays, and a giant Bag2SChool drive in January to redistribute all the remaining clothes to local charities, WIP projects and Bag2School. We will also set up a Winter Free shop in a school that has many arrivals from all over the world so they can have ongoing access to the winter clothes we collect, generously donated in these neighbourhoods across Toronto. AN UPDATE (2020/01/13) we visited the free shop this week with more clothes DONATED from the clothing drive, and COLLECTED a lot of items they didn't want in their free shop (jeans, T-shirts, men's shirts) that we want for upcycling events or the clothing drive. They said they had 3 successful events in the fall, open to families and students, and then one day-long event open to everyone on the 18th, so they were happy to get more donated items.
That's the idea. Check out our blog for more details.