By Bridget Lenczewski
This year, a group of Enactus members on campus are working on a project called Thread Ahead. The project is focused on collecting gently used clothing from students and community members and donating to the women and children of Anna Marie’s Alliance in St. Cloud, an organization for women and their children who are survivors of domestic violence.
Last semester, the group of students did a “dorm storm,” in which they went door-to-door in most of the dorms on the St. Ben’s and St. John’s campuses, asking for donations of clothing items. They garnered 300 clothing items during just a one-day dorm rush.
The original idea for the project came from the Dream Closet, a student organization at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Dream Closet collects clothing from students and community members and holds a free shopping event on campus. While the idea originally came from the Mankato student organization, the Enactus members took their own spin on it, adapting and changing the project to suit the small-scale environment of CSB/SJU and St. Joseph.
“The main goal of Dream Closet is to host an event where students and people in the community can come and shop for clothes, but everything is free. The issue with that is that we did not think [the clothes] would get to the right people that needed it,” CSB senior Ashley Gengler said. “We figured that by doing Thread Ahead we would be actually giving the clothes directly to nonprofits and to people who actually need the clothes.”
While the Thread Ahead group is giving the women and children’s clothes to Anna Marie’s Alliance, they have yet to find the perfect place to donate the men’s clothing items they have collected so far and will be
collecting more of in the future. The Salvation Army is one option they are considering.
The core concepts behind Thread Ahead are of giving back to others through donation, reducing carbon footprints through recycling and supporting cost-effective and mindful consumerism.
“[I chose to participate in this project] because a lot of people do not need all the clothes in their closet. I know I have clothes that I do not wear for an entire year. Rather than just throwing them away or giving them to Salvation Army, I am giving them to a place that I know,” CSB senior Lauren Perinovic said. “It is going to people in need instead of people that are just thrift shopping, trying to find something cool.”
The next “dorm rush” is planned for right before spring break, so that students can donate their winter clothes that they did not wear or do not want before returning home for break. Additionally, the Thread Ahead student group plans on getting a clothing donation box set up in Gorecki or Sexton in the future.