Editor's Note: The article below was submitted by Jane Pojawa ('19, master's in regenerative studies), the event's clothing drive coordinator. Pojawa's research focus at the Lyle Center is intentional communities -- people who live together with some shared resources on the basis of explicit common valueues to evaluate their sustainable practices.
The Lyle Center for Regenerative Studies, the Lyle Center Student Sustainability Association, and the Food Justice Club from the College of Agriculture joined forces this month for their second annual clothing drive to help disadvantaged members of the community. Six large boxes, representing hundreds of articles of clothing were collected, as well as a dozen suits.
At the core of the clothing drive is the question, “How can we use our resources to serve our community in a way that expresses regenerative values?” The cycle of “fast fashion” and clothing manufacture is a hot topic in sustainability studies. Although it is difficult to verify absent regulation, it is estimated that clothing manufacture is second only to oil as being the largest polluter in the world. Americans are estimated to dispose of 12.8 million tons of textiles annually; about 80 lbs. of clothing per person. Most of this ends up in landfills. Recycling clothing lessens human impact on the environment and donating to help people with financial need is an expression of the regenerative value of social responsibility.
Last year, donations from the clothing drive were made to The Clothes Closet, a resource operated by the Cal Poly Pomona Career Center where students can pick out career clothing for job interviews and work/internships. This year, the drive was expanded to include A.C.T.S., a local thrift store chain that donates 100 percent of its proceeds to various partners including Door of Hope (homeless families), Elizabeth House (homeless pregnant women), Families in Transition (homeless families), Family Promise (homeless families), Foothill Unity Center (families living at or below 150% of the national poverty line), Friends In Deed (homeless and at-risk individuals), Fuller Theological Seminary, Harambee Ministries (religious), Hillsides (children), Journey House (emancipated foster youth), Life Cure Foundation (religious), Madison Healthy Start (students/case management), Providence Mission Homes (missionary families), Shepherd's Door (domestic violence prevention), Union Station Homeless Services, Walter Hoving Home (rehabilitation), Women at Work (job resource center), Young & Healthy (uninsured children), Duarte Unified School District, Flintridge Center (gangs), Communities 4 Children, Aspire West, Pasadena, House of Ruth (domestic violence), Pacific-Lifeline (homeless women and children) and Inland Valley Hope Partners. Additionally, we also contributed to the 2nd Chance Thrift Shop that benefits Friends of the Upland Animal Shelter, which strives to connect every adoptable pet with a caring owner.
As “giving season” approaches ahead of the holidays, at the Lyle Center we encourage students to “refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle” as well as to make more sustainable choices in terms of clothing selection and in the exchange of gifts.