On May 16th, Dupont Rotary and the Rotaract Club of Washington, D.C. partnered to host their first annual charity clothing exchange for women. Participants, as well as club members and their friends who could not attend, donated clothing, shoes, and accessories in new or gently used condition to the event. The $20 admission fee, which supported one project or organization in each club that hosted, allowed participants to try on and take home as many of the donated items as they wished. Unwanted items were donated to Martha's Outfitters—the clothing arm of Martha's Table, a group which feeds the homeless.
All in all, the event raised $600 and resulted in a donation of over 20 tote bags full of clothing and accessories to Martha's Outfitters. Dupont Circle donated their half of the admission fee intake to their footbridge project in Zimbabwe; Rotaract donated theirs half to the NGO Empowered Women International.
Event organizer Angie Bryan of Dupont Rotary first got the idea to organize a charity clothing exchange when she attended one hosted by a Canadian diplomat in Damascus, Syria, where Angie was posted as an American diplomat from 1993-1995. She has subsequently organized her own charity clothing exchanges in Algeria (Algiers), Pakistan (both Lahore and Islamabad), France (Lyon), Yemen (Sana'a), and Sweden (Stockholm), each time directing the proceeds to a local organization benefiting women in need. She became a Rotarian during her posting in Sweden, at which point her Rotary Club, Stockholm Strand, made her clothing exchange an official club event attended by women from multiple Rotary clubs in Stockholm. The 2015 event was her first in the United States, and next year's event will be the 20th anniversary of Angie's efforts, so she's hoping to go big. Her goal for 2016's event is to have at least twice as many participants!
If you'd like to be included on the e-mail list announcing the spring 2016 event, please e-mail Angie. The event is a great way to combine closet cleaning with benefiting worthy causes, socializing with fun women, and adding a few new wardrobe items to your freshly-organized closet...for only a $20 investment! Angie and the event hosts look forward to seeing you next spring!