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There are many places to donate used clothes in Harrisonburg.

With constantly changing trends and styles, it’s typical for college students to get rid of old clothing in order to make room for new clothes. College apartments often have limited space, and students already struggle to fit all their belongings. Some students bring clothes home during breaks, and others pack them away in storage boxes, rarely taking them out. College students should donate these clothes that they put away and don't wear instead of letting them go to waste.

When students leave JMU and drive around Harrisonburg, they notice a contrast. Inside the gates of JMU, students see expensive football stadiums and construction for brand new dorms. But once they drive off campus into certain parts of Harrisonburg, it’s clear many people are struggling. JMU students are part of the Harrisonburg community and should want to help the less fortunate members of the community.

The easiest way to help out the members of this community is donating clothing. Old clothes which may not fit as well as they did before or are simply no longer in style shouldn't be thrown away. For someone who can’t afford to buy clothes or who live in a homeless shelter, these old clothes are brand new,  different than the ones they have on and something else they can call their own. The Trinity Presbyterian Church Clothing Closet in Harrisonburg is a perfect example of how people benefit from this kind act. Trinity’s Closet is open from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m every Wednesday night. Those in need can come and take as many clothing items as they require, free of charge.

Although donating clothes is easy and extremely beneficial for many, some students prefer to sell their clothing items. With apps such as Poshmark and Depop, students can sell their clothes to people all over the nation. Facebook groups and Instagram pages are created for the sole purpose of selling clothing,  where people can browse other users’ posts and list their own prices and sizes.

It isn’t just online where people are making money on what could be donated clothes. Students can also bring clothing to Plato’s Closet to receive money or store credit. This may be easier than having to create a profile on an app and ship the items. However, many students have noticed that Plato’s Closet is particular about the clothing they choose. Since they’re re-selling these items, they must be in the best condition possible. Most people looking to sell leave this store with items that didn’t get accepted. In this case, students should drive to Goodwill and make a donation there. Even though they won’t receive money for donating, it’s clear that they didn’t need the clothing in the first place if they were willing to sell it. Plus, the extra money might’ve come in handy, but it isn’t as morally rewarding as donating.  

Students need to consider donating at least one or two items each time they clean out their closets. Even if they donate to Goodwill, where people need to pay to buy items, the clothing items are sold at a far cheaper price than in stores. Expensive and rarely worn clothes can be sold, but if they are not accepted by Plato’s Closet or purchased by an Instagram follower, students need to find a local shelter and donate. It’s a waste to simply throw away old clothes when there are people in need and students who can easily help.

Megan Klepper is a junior, writing, rhetoric and technical communication major. Contact Megan at kleppemc@dukes.jmu.edu.