With so much need in the world, I find myself wondering sometimes how I can possibly make a difference and then I meet someone like Ernie Jantzen. Ernie is a can-do kind of guy and he inspires action in other people. He’s the Founder of Clothes2U, an organization that collects not only clothes, but household goods, personal items…basically anything he can fit in his minivan, to distribute to low income individuals and families.
Seeing a need among single parent families, Ernie started collecting clothes in 2002 to distribute on his own. Soon enough, the need far outweighed his time and resources as an individual and he started looking for venues to host events where he could give away lots of clothing and goods at once. This idea caught on quickly and today Clothes2U partners with churches and schools who are interested in reaching out to the community. The venues typically supply their own volunteers to add to the regular Clothes2U brood, as well as provide refreshments for the people coming to receive donations. It all ends up looking like a swap-meet, only everything is free for people struggling to make ends meet.
Ernie is proud of the impact Clothes2U has made on the community, but he’s not the kind of guy to take any credit for himself. When asked why he considered it his responsibility to take action when he saw a need in the community, rather than let someone else take care of it, he asked “Why NOT me?” And if he hadn’t been so generous in thought, thousands of people would not have benefited from the work of this organization. If there’s one thing Ernie wants the readers of FVP to know, it’s this: no matter how little value you think something has, it probably has value to someone and Clothes2U will take any and all of your donations. They have even put open shampoo bottles to use…so please don’t throw away items that could possibly benefit someone else – Clothes2U will happily make good use of them!
In a time where even thrift stores are choosy about what they’ll take as a donation, Clothes2U is a breath of fresh air! Be sure to check out FVP’s event calendar for upcoming Clothes2U events in the Fraser Valley.
What: A mobile, free clothing store for Fraser Valley residents in need of basic clothing and goods.
Where: Based in Aldergrove, and operating throughout a good portion of the Fraser Valley.
Why: Because poverty doesn’t only affect the third world, poverty affects our neighbours all over the Fraser Valley. It’s up to us to help.
How you can get involved: Ernie is always looking for donations and volunteers, especially ones who are willing to donate the time and gas to drive between Aldergrove and Chilliwack so that Clothes2U can support the Eastern Fraser Valley. He’s also looking for one or more individuals who’d be willing to donate some storage space for the goods that are collected between events. It could be a garage, a barn, a warehouse…as long as it’s secure and dry, he wants to talk to you!