Bringing Catholic Values to Life

Feeding God’s Children | Dress for the Job Clothing Drive

with Joan Ruskamp, Sacred Heart 1737, Dodge, Nebraska and Fraternal Outreach Coordinator Brittany Demendi


Brittany Demendi: Can you describe the event? 

Joan Ruskamp: We collected professional style clothing for Open Door Mission in Omaha, Neb. Besides collecting clothing from the community, we had people read about the collection in the local paper and contact us about getting clothing to us. The clothing was delivered to Open Door Mission.

BD: What steps did you take to plan this event?

JR: As a court, we first discussed some suggestions from the court newsletter of ideas to implement.  We decided a clothing drive of professional style clothing would be unique and encourage more families to see the need for less fortunate people to receive items that would be of greater benefit than a general clothing drive. We advertised in our local paper and hung information in two local parishes with collection boxes in each church. We gave people about one month to get the clothing donated.

BD: How did you collect the items?  

JR: We reached out to the local community that two churches serve; Sacred Heart in Olean and St. Wenceslaus in Dodge. One of the comments from a donor was she found a good reason to give away the clothes from her deceased husband. She had been holding on to the clothes and she felt this was a good way for the clothes to be used.

BD: What was the total number of items collected? 

JR: The total number of items collected filled two large bins at the collection center for Open Door Mission. The staffer was even surprised at how many bags we kept unloading from my vehicle. I asked for two bins right away and the staffer responded that he thought we’d only need one. It was a pleasant surprise when he had to go in and get another bin! (Photo below.)

BD: How did you choose this recipient? 

JR: Open Door Mission in Omaha offers training programs and has an easy way to get items to the organization through a location on the west side of Omaha. In the past, we found it more difficult to get to the inner-city locations of other charitable organizations.

BD: Do you think you will do this event again? 

JR: Our court enjoys hosting different types of collections. We have collected food for pantries, clothing for winter weather, general clothing and now professional clothing. We believe the community response increases with a variety of clothing drives rather than a general drive. We have been hosting some type of collection annually for several years and hope to continue for many more. We greatly appreciate the suggestions from the [Home Office] staff about ideas for collections.

BD: What was the most rewarding part of the event? 

JR: This event had a two-fold purpose. First, we were able to supply a variety of clothes for men and women in need of professional looking attire. Second, we provided an opportunity for the community to get involved in a charitable act for those less fortunate.

Sacred Heart 1737 Professional Clothing Drive
Get Involved FGC 2017