There was a series of letters in the Yated about donating clothes. One person wrote a whole long letter on how the clothing gemach works; that they go through all the clothes and they throw out everything with stains and everything which is outdated. Another lady wrote that she hates throwing out perfectly good clothes. She said that something outdated here may not be outdated in Israel. So she asked if she should donate the clothes to the gemachs for the reason that it can be sent to Israel. Someone responded the following:
This is in regard to the issue of giving clothing for tzedakeh.
To the lady who asked whether she should give "outdated clothes that are in good condition which her children won't wear," I would say absolutely not. As a matter for principle, anything that I wouldn't give my child, I wouldn't give to someone else's child either.
Clothes that are in good condition, but are not suitable for your children because they outgrew them- either size-wise or age-wise- can be given to others, in my opinion. But clothes that are outdated for your children (for any reason whatsoever), you can throw away.
This letter really made me freak out for two reasons:
1) Beggars can't be choosers. Especially nowadays with the drop in the dollar and the rising prices of just about everything. If you're poor enough to need (not talking about people who choose to have) second-hand clothing you sure as hell shouldn't complain about the fact it's outdated.
When I was in Israel a few years ago I saw a lady in the supermarket (twice- we stayed at one hotel for about 4 days) wearing my HS uniform skirt (both times). There is no way in hell that skirt ever was or every will be in style (if the pattern ever is, def not in the length she was wearing it). She obviously either really needed the skirt, or Israel has a different style. I'm going with needed, simply because that really was one really ugly skirt. Either way, she has it, and she wore it. Using that letter writers logic, that uniform skirt should not have been donated, rather trashed. I hate that.
2) What bothers me, is the idea that frum people think there is a possibility for them to have "outdated" clothing. I've been frum for about 8 years. I still have some clothes that I could totally wear and would totally fit in. Why? Because there is no style. frum people wear the same thing ALL the time. Black skirt, blouse and/or knitted sweater. For a fancy occasion? Ugly black suit (makes them look like men) and/or a pleated black skirt with an atrocious shiny blouse. ALL blouses must be about 3 sizes too big (Gd forbid men see you have a waistline) and skirts end at mid-calf length.
A few months ago I was invited to a ger chassid wedding (one of my super frummy friends). I was going nuts "what should I wear" then I remembered I had a suit in my closet that I wore in 9th grade (about 7 yrs ago) to a super frummy Bar Mitzvah. It was an ordinary plain black suit. I wore a hot pink shell underneath and light pink, pearl earrings. Two people I know said how amazing I looked... I looked plain. I could dress up sooo much better than that, with actual nice clothes. But I wore something FIVE years old, and still managed to fit into the frum community...somehow.
So I ask you. How could clothes go outdated? I mean, we're talking abou the Yated here. The people that read this newspaper are Lakewood/Monsey/BP/Williamsburg. They don't do style. They have, and will continue to always look the same. Why not just already donate the clothes?