Giving Out Clothes

We are fortunate that many supporters kindly bring us clothes which we can distribute to disadvantaged children. Some of the clothes go to the children that Mango House supports throughout the year but thousands of others are distributed to local communities who are in need.

We know we can’t turn up in a slum to give out clothes unless we have plenty available so that all children will get something so we store clothes in our loft until we have plenty available. Every couple of months or so we’ll get them all out and start sorting them out in our Dining Hall. We spend a day or two sorting the clothes into girls and boys, tops and bottoms and approximate ages. If we haven’t given clothes out to the Mango House children for a while we will let them know to come to the House. Staff and volunteers match clothes to children. The children rarely bother much what they are given as long as it looks like it’s more or less the right size.

Once this has been done we start to pack and label baskets ready for the first foray to give out in the local community. We have to be very organised to ensure that when we arrive at our destination we can quickly assess a child’s age and find suitable clothing and avoid something of a scrum developing. We load the van with sufficient clothes for an entire slum/group. Ali knows where the slums in the local area are and we will visit several over the course of a week. Volunteers take turns to assist.

Sometimes we visit a slum or we will arrange to meet families from a slum at a prearranged location. If everything goes to plan after explaining who we are and what we are doing and that there will be enough for every child the children will line up and we can quickly judge size and locate suitable clothing from the baskets. On other occasions it’s a bit more of a challenge as the parents of the children can’t wait and get somewhat overeager to grab clothes for their families. It’s not surprising this happens from time to time - the people we are helping have very little and the gift of some clothing for their children means a great deal.

It can be an overwhelming experience for volunteers who have never given out clothes before but no one taking part could have the slightest doubt about what the clothes mean to the families of the children receiving them.