The Volunteer Center is partnering with the Salvation Army to collect clothes for donation during their “Clothes for Cupcakes” charity event.
The Volunteer Center is working specifically in conjunction with a special branch of the Salvation Army called the Haven, a group at the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Healthcare Center that specializes in veteran rehabilitation and reintegration. The Haven also provides individualized job search and training opportunities to homeless veterans looking for employment.
At the end of the Haven’s job training program, the veterans receive a set of interview clothes and a wallet or purse with a small amount of money inside. Students are encouraged to donate dress shirts, pants and blazers to be given to veterans. All other clothing donations will be put with the general Salvation Army inventory.
Students who make donations by Thursday received a ticket redeemable for a free cupcake from Sprinkles Cupcakes or Big Man Cakes on Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in front of Tommy Trojan.
Free 21 Choices frozen yogurt gift cards will be given to students who contribute donations after Thursday.
Joenique Rose, program manager at the Volunteer Center, said the clothing drive is also a way of giving back to the community for the holiday season.
“With the holidays coming, we thought it would be great for USC students to donate any kind of warm clothes, like sweaters and jackets, although any and all items are very much appreciated,” she said.
Rose also said the premise of giving free cupcakes in exchange for clothing donations gives students another reason to participate.
“Everyone likes a little incentive, so we’re hoping that the cupcakes and gift cards will get more students to participate because this whole event is really just trying to get as many donations as we can for the Salvation Army,” Rose said.
Cindy Le, lead coordinator of the project, was excited to bring a clothing drive to USC’s campus.
“We wanted to show them how easy it is to make a difference and to introduce students to the various nonprofit organizations that USC works with,” she said.
Le explained why a clothing drive is a good method of getting students involved in giving back to the community.
“I remember last year packing up all my clothes that I didn’t want and I’m sure other people felt the same,” Le said. “We figured this was something that was really easy for college students to do while addressing a really great cause at the same time.”
Le also said the donation process is a learning opportunity for USC students to find out more about the surrounding community.
“When students come to give donations, we tell them about the Haven and what they do for the community and give a little presentation about the homelessness issue in Los Angeles,” Le said.
Shayna Lurey, a sophomore majoring in business administration, said she supports the charity drive and is planning on making a donation this week.
“I think it’s really important as students who are part of a relatively wealthy campus to realize that we’re so fortunate compared to others,” Lurey said. “I think this clothing drive should remind us that we need to give back to our community and those who don’t have nearly as much as we do.”
Michael Harper, a sophomore majoring in popular music, said he thinks USC should continue these charity efforts in the future.
“I really hope this isn’t just a one-time event because it’s easy to just host one charity drive and think that you really made a difference,” he said. “It needs to be an ongoing effort from everyone on campus.”