Whether you’re on a low income, or no income, don’t worry. We have some great tips on how to get a heap of free stuff you may need for the kids, like every-day essentials; sneakers, new uniform, a warm winter coat that fits now that your kid has grown by what seems like a whole foot over the summer.
There are lots of places you can go and lots of ideas to help you:
Did you know you could get a brand new winter coat for your child?
Operation Warm operates in 49 states and is committed to providing warm clothing to kids who families are unable to provide this. With the priorities for most families being on paying the rent, buying food and heating the home, clothing often is less of a priority. When the winter months are coming up, many kids end up missing valuable school time, or interaction through play in the park, simply because they’re not prepared with clothing suitable to the weather.
Operation Warm works with many corporate companies and charitable organizations to provide adequate clothing for kids in need of that new winter coat.
Find out how Operation Warm can help you at http://www.operationwarm.org/pages/what-we-do
Single Parents Alliance of America (SPAOA)
This not-for-profit organization provides a whole range of help, support and advice for single parents. Their service is confidential and they will help you navigate any government or support assistance program.
SPAOA forms alliances with partners so they can offer you discounts and vouchers for kids clothing, as well as a whole range of other items.
Sign up and become and member, and you will benefit from offers, discounts and vouchers.
Find out more and sign up at http://www.spaoa.org/about/
Care2Kids puts families with unwanted kids’ clothes in touch with you can get free clothes and other items. Families will donate clothes and stuff that their kids have outgrown and you’ll be paired with a donating family based on your kids age and gender. You’ll need to register online to become a member.
Once you’ve been paired with a donating family, you can connect with them and keep in touch. Great way to bond as your kids grow together.
Find out more at http://care2kids.org/Care2Kids.com/Home.html
Church and Religious Groups
Salvation Army Family Stores will often have low-cost or free clothing for needy families, where you can equipped with warm coats, shoes, school outfits and baby clothes.
Catholic Charities can provide assistance in getting you and your kids free clothing, shoes and other items and support you may need. With 160 Catholic Charities agencies across the country, you should be able to find a convenient clothing closet near to you. You could also visit your local parish church to find out the best place to contact, and they may even be able to let you know of some other charities and support groups that can help out.
Get more information and help at http://catholiccharitiesusa.org/find-help
These are still a great place to get clothes and other essential items that have been donated to help moms and dads. Most charities also provide a great support network for parents and you may find you can get involved and have some fun too.
These examples will give you an idea of what you may be able to find in your local area:
Women Giving Back – VA
Women Giving Back run a service of distributing free clothing to families in Northern Virginia. They are a group of professional women (and men) who open up their WGB tore on the second Saturday of each month from 9:00 am until 12:00 pm. WGB – The Store is held at 20 Export Drive, Sterling, VA where you can go and bag some goodies for the kids.
Find more details at http://womengivingback.org/
Charitable Union – Battle Creek, MI
Check out the charities in your local area that can help out with free kids’ essentials. Charitable Union is just one example of how these worthwhile charities can lend a hand.
Friends and Family
People you know are always willing to help out. Let them know you’re on the lookout for any giveaways or bargains. If they can’t help you out directly, they can let you know of where you can get first pickings.
Or, put a spin on it, and offer to help out your friends and family by taking unwanted clothing off their hands.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
You may be eligible under this emergency fund to receive means-tested assistance, including help with kids essential clothing, while you get back on your feet. You will need to fulfill certain criteria, which will vary from state to state but you MUST either be pregnant, or be the parent/guardian of a minor. You’ll need to check your eligibility for assistance with the TANF agency in the area in which you currently reside.
You’ll need to apply to your own State and you can start the application process at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ofa/help
More information on the program and local contacts can be found at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ofa/programs/tanf
Next to nothing bargain hunting
Ever heard of Threadup? This was originally a clothes swapping service, but they’ve recently upgraded this to offer more to suit different needs depending on your needs. With Threadup, moms and dads can use the ‘concierge’ trade-in or the bargain-filled online shop.
ThreadUP Concierge Trade-In Service
Here’s where you can trade-in your kids’ outgrown clothes. Sign up online. They’ll send you a bag to fill, free of charge, which you fill up with all the clothes that no longer fit, and then just send it back to Threadup. They’ll pay you the their market value of the clothes, in either Threadup credits, which you can then use to buy more clothes from their online shop, or you can be paid the value by Paypal.
ThreadUP Online Shop
Here you’ll find a great selection of clothes, some new or nearly new, with items starting from as little as $2.50. There’s free delivery on orders over $30 so if you can do a good deal on trading some old clothes, you’ll be able to kit out the kids for just a few dollars.
Find out more at www.threadup.com
OK, so this is not strictly speaking getting you free clothes but, if you can spend a little time on trading, taking photos and listing, you can make a profit, and then use that profit to get some fab cheap clothes.
Look out for lots of cheap clothing that you can buy up at just a few dollars, which you know you’ll be able to resell at a higher price tag. You may want to look out for more local sales here, as you may need to meet up with the seller to arrange the pick-up.
You can then use the profit to buy some more clothes for your kids. So, you may need a little cash up-front to get started, but in the end you’ll be able to get some more kids’ clothes without making a hole in your purse.
You’ll need to create a seller account on Craiglist so that you can start trading.
Find out more at www.craiglist.org
Look out for local garage sales, where you can pick up real bargains, or maybe strike a deal with the seller, especially if it’s at the end of the day. They may just be glad to get rid of their items for a small token. Check with the moms at the school, or for notices up at the local store, for any sales in your area
Or think about having one yourself. If you haven’t got a garage, maybe you can organize a table-top sale in your backyard. No backyard? Perhaps you can join forces with another mom who has a backyard, or space on the front porch.
Community Table Top Sales
You can sometimes find these at local schools, after school clubs and community centers. If there is nothing organized in your area, how about you and some moms get together and asking your school if you can organize a table-top sale or clothes exchange?
If the school are not really exciting by the idea, open up the sale to the public and ask for a small entry donation which can go to the school funds. Be resourceful, there are lots of ways you can make this work.
Great idea for having a clear-out of all those items your kids have outgrown, and making some dollars to buy some new stuff.
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