The Columbia Association’s (CA) Youth and Teen Center at the Barn (YTC@TheBarn) recently held its 4th annual clothing drive to help those living in Columbia who are in need. We got a chance to speak with Youth and Teen Program Coordinator Safire Windley to get a quick recap of the event. The event was held on Saturday, Jan. 19, and Sunday, Jan. 20.
What kinds of items were you offering to those in need?
Windley: Shoes, sneakers, jeans, coats, sweaters, shirts, jackets, pots, pans, purses, book bags, jewelry and books. Although we only requested clothes and accessories, we received all kinds of items. We collected more than 3,397 items! It was great to see most of everything go!
How many people were in attendance?
Windley: This year we served a total of 528 individuals. We had 33 volunteers register and help through our National Day of Service request. There were also a total of 49 volunteers who helped from the start of the project, which includes all 27 Teen Outreach Committee (TOC) members.
How does it feel to know that you were able to give back to the community?
Windley: One the greatest feelings in life is to purposefully lessen the burden for someone, through a simple act of kindness. Giving back is like Columbia, or even the world — one big circle; because we dwell in the same circle, and we all benefit. On behalf of the entire TOC, it was truly a time-consuming, tedious project that took a lot of perseverance — and I do mean A LOT! Collecting, sorting, labeling, transporting thousands of items to the distribution area, then organizing and setting up for distribution (for both days). Though the work was challenging, the faces of gratitude and overall assurance of folks knowing that their community had their back was invaluable. Actually, it was priceless–so much so that TOC has declared that we will be back for year number five in 2014.
Is there anything else you would like to add about the 4th annual Clothing Drive?
Windley: I would personally like to give a special thanks to all the 10 Columbia Village Associations, Columbia Art Center, Supreme Sports Club, and Warren’s Barber Shop in Owen Brown for welcoming our collection boxes at their facilities. Kudos to all 10 finalists of the 2012 “Hear My Voice Teen Idol” competition for decorating and delivering collection boxes to the designated drop-off sites. A heartfelt thanks to Eggspectation in Ellicott City for donating fresh coffee, muffins, fruit and lunch for our volunteers. Thank you to Harris Teeter grocery store in Kings Contrivance for donating bags for our “shoppers” to put their donated items in. And of course, we could not have had such a successful event without the driving force, the Columbia community! Much thanks to all who gave; we simply cannot thank you enough!
For more information on the Youth and Teen Center at the Barn or CA’s Teen Outreach Committee, please visit ColumbiaAssociation.org/teens or like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/YTCAtTheBarn.