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Layers of Love: A Dignity Store

When you get dressed is dignity on your mind? Do you notice how you put on clean, fitting clothes appropriate for today’s weather?

There are so many aspects to dignity - how you dress is one of them. Having clean and wearable clothes is often the first step to dignity, and to being treated with respect by others. Although at 1JustCity, we respect people for who they are and not what they look like, we understand that for many people who access our sites, their appearance can sometimes be a barrier to receiving the respect they deserve.

This is why we’ve started a new project called Layers of Love: A Dignity Store, where our community members will be able to access clean, appropriate clothing that they need! With two storage containers donated by Access Storage, and our new laundry facilities at Oak Table, we are able to sort, wash, take inventory and properly distribute clothing donations we receive from our generous supporters like you!

This project became an idea when we received so many donations in the winter of 2020/2021 that we didn’t know what to do with them all. We also received out of season clothing we didn’t want to waste! With Layers of Love, we don’t need to get rid of donations we don’t have space for, and can effectively distribute clothing to our community as they need it, on their terms. During our drop in hours, our guests let our staff know which items they need and their size. We get them from the storage container and deliver them within a few days!

Many people using our sites are experiencing homelessness, precarious housing, or are in temporary housing, with no place to store their bulky winter jackets and other items they don’t need all the time. This often means they need to throw them out or leave them somewhere without knowing if their possessions will be there when they return. Precarious housing also means that clothes can wear faster, with limited places for people to safely store and wash them. At Layers of Love, folks can drop off their winter coat in the summer with a guarantee that they will receive a coat in return when the cold months come again.

Layer of Love will also hold seasonal community pop-up shops, where people can come and choose their own clothes at no cost. These pop-up shops will provide volunteer opportunities for individuals and organizations with options such as working the shop, sorting donations, or having a donation box drive with some essential seasonal items that can be unaffordable for folks but necessary for their safety (sunscreen, toque, clean and dry socks).

We are so excited to grow this project and be an essential part of people thriving in our community! We are super grateful to the Rotary Club of Winnipeg - Assiniboine for their generous donation that will assist us to purchase items for the store, let’s be real everyone needs new. Yeah we mean undies! We are happy that this project is filling the need for clean clothes, reducing waste, encouraging donating and volunteerism. We have launched the initial steps of the project, sorting and taking inventory of the items in the storage container. We have also started distributing the donations to our guests.

In Fall of 2021, we will hold our first community pop-up shop and donation drive for warmer, winter clothing (or summer clothing because we can keep it safe until next season!). Your support will mean that we can see this project to its full potential, providing dignity to those that need it most, so that our community members can all experience the respect they are so worthy of receiving.

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