New spring/summer fashions have been delivered curbside to direct support team members at AHRC Nassau.
To brighten these frontline workers’ day, AHRC’s Day Habilitation Team and Community Relations Liaison Lynne Brewer worked together to deliver a “free” shopping experience. Donated clothes with tags or “good as new” were driven in a van to group homes. Direct support team members, then, could step outside the house and choose whatever they liked for free.
It all began with bags of clothes, no other nonprofit would accept. Long Islanders clearing out their closets during the pandemic knew one place that would accept clothing donations.
Lynne’s donation box, outside her house, is the size of a small car. Lynne has received thousands of pounds of donated clothes over the course of several weeks. Once received, she stores the clothes away for a few weeks, and then invites teams of volunteers and interested day program staff to help her sort through the donations.
“I’ve always accepted clothes for recycling but during the pandemic no other nonprofits were picking up donations. I said, ‘Give them to me. I can use them.’ I have a whole room in the Plainview office, that’s nothing but clothes,” said Lynne, who typically takes clothing donations to recycling centers.
The idea for the mobile boutique came from Director of Day Programs Chris Williams.
“When Lynne mentioned she had an abundance of nice clothes that was growing by the day, I suggested we work together to learn if the staff had an interest in these items either personally or to share within their networks,” said Chris. “The idea grew from there between Lynne and the Day Program team. Everyone agreed it would be a nice initiative to express our deep appreciation for all the DSPs have been doing to keep people supported in their residences safe and healthy.”
All AHRC Nassau group homes have been reached, now the project is beginning to grow outside of AHRC Nassau to other agencies serving people with developmental disabilities. The clothes not used in the mobile boutique will be donated to the recycling centers.
“Once we’re really on the other side of this pandemic, I plan to use the money from the recycled clothes for a party for the people we support,” said Lynne. “Maybe, three parties.”