"Just to be a good neighbor."
How it all started
In early 2013, a group of five local North Portland families were hanging out. They started talking about how quickly their kids go through clothes. “My five-year-old son is growing so fast he needs a new pair of jeans every fifteen minutes,” said one mom. “It gets expensive.” Another mom added, “And when my youngest outgrows clothes, there’s no one else in our family to hand them down to. Such a waste to throw them out; they still have a lot of wear in them.”
A third parent chimed in. “I have a whole box of clothes we don’t wear anymore sitting in the garage. I know there are organizations I could donate them to, but they would just turn around and charge other people money for them. I wish there were a way to share clothes directly with other families in the neighborhood – you know, for free. Just to be a good neighbor.”
And thus, the North Portland Free Clothing Exchange was born.
The group of friends started gathering support and spreading the word. The friends went door to door handing out flyers and collecting clothing donations. “This is a great idea!” everybody said. The friends booked the Kenton Library’s community room as a venue and applied for a grant from their church, Mosaic, to cover the cost of signage and supplies. The first public event was held in April 2013. It was an immediate success.
In response to community feedback, the exchange has since been broadened to include clothing for all ages, not just kids, and to be held quarterly instead of just twice a year. To date, over 200 local households have exchanged literally thousands of pieces of clothing. We invite you to come share too.