A charity that diverts new designer clothing from landfill to people in need has rushed to open its first permanent hub in south-east Queensland.
Thread Together started in 2012 and now works with 1,000 brands and retailers across Australia, sending end-of-season clothes and accessories to the homeless, people escaping domestic violence situations and those who have survived natural disasters.
Chief executive Anthony Chesler said demand since last month’s floods had increased significantly, prompting him to bring forward the opening of a new hub in Indooroopilly.
Down the driveway of St Andrew’s Anglican Church on Fairley St is a makeshift boutique overflowing with boxes of Clarks kids’ shoes, Bed Threads bed linen, shirts, pants, pyjamas and underwear.
The store only opened on Wednesday but Thread Together volunteer coordinator Kate Littmann-Kelly and Anglicare project manager Leanne Wood have already providing much-needed clothing to more than 60 people.
“It’s such a mix of people we’re helping,” Ms Littmann-Kelly said.
“One family came in, mum, dad, a two-month-old and a four-year-old boy and the boy had the happiest smile on his face when he found a Spiderman T-shirt.
“They lost everything in the floods and he was wearing ill-fitting plastic crocs so we got him fitted into some nice Clarks sandals.”
No matter how badly customers have been affected by February’s deluge, Ms Littmann-Kelly said they were all determined to not take more than they needed.
Service expands south to Lismore
The charity already provided clothing to vulnerable customers via an emergency hub at Styling Station’s Milton premises on Cribb St.
That outlet has also stepped up its operations giving away 70 clothing packs in the first week of March.
Marketing director Karen Uhlmann said volunteer stylists offered assistance in social services, psychology, nursing and counselling.
“People have felt safe enough in our space to pull up a stump and share their stories,” she said.
“It’s an absolute privilege and honour to help people through these horrid times.”
This week an emergency clothing hub also opened at the Lismore Showgrounds.
Two Thread Together mobile wardrobes were also travelling into communities to provide new clothing to many residents who had lost everything.
To ensure the service was targeted at those who needed it, Mr Chesler said the charity waited until it was contacted by community organisations before opening hubs.
He said while the service was open to anyone, clothes were distributed through welfare groups.
In some areas, customers could even shop online “making the experience very similar to the one millions of Australians partake in each week”, said Mr Chesler.
At Indooroopilly, Ms Littmann-Kelly said volunteers would deliver clothes to those who couldn’t visit the hub in person.
Some capacity for walk-ins was available.
However, Ms Uhlmann said the Milton Styling Station store was only taking bookings for customers due to high demand.