The name “My Girlfriend’s Closet” was chosen to reflect the desire of the teens who founded the organization to share their gently used clothing with disadvantaged girls their own age – just as they do with their girlfriends. The organization’s structure was designed to include and, in fact, depend upon the active participation and shared decision-making of the teen volunteers, thus fulfilling another objective: to teach young leaders how to initiate and effectively run a nonprofit organization for the benefit of the community.
We target San Diego-area teenage girls and young women, ages 13-22, whose need is greatest – the homeless and those in foster care – by working closely with the social service agencies that serve them. Additional disadvantaged teens are identified and invited to our clothing distribution events by the community organizations that serve them and their families. My Girlfriend’s Closet currently serves approximately 800 young women in need each year.
My Girlfriend’s Closet is a nonprofit organization run by a mother-daughter board of directors, localized in San Diego, California that collects quality, gently used clothing, shoes and accessories and distributes these items to foster, homeless and economically disadvantaged teenage girls and young women.
Throughout the year, we organize collections of gently-worn and new clothing, shoes and accessories at local schools, sororities, community organizations, corporations and retail stores. We collect shirts, pants, jeans, shorts, dresses, skirts, sweaters, pajamas, coats, shoes, jewelry, belts, hats, scarves, handbags, stuffed animals, and unopened cosmetics and toiletries.
Before a distribution event, we hold a day-long event to inspect and sort collected clothing and other items to ensure that each meets the standards set by the organization for condition and quality. Clothing is sorted by size and category, packed into bins and stored at a rented facility until the distribution event.
We set up the clothing giveaway venue to resemble a high-end clothing boutique. Items are carefully hung and displayed by size and category on rounders and racks, or neatly folded and displayed on tables. Our goal is to create an inviting setting where prequalified young women can shop with pride. When the event opens, the “shoppers” sign in and receive two large handle bags that they can fill to the brim with items of their choosing. All items are free.
MGC relies on volunteers to help all that we do. We always need help collecting clothing, sorting and setting up our events. Plus, high school girls are eligible to serve on the board of directors with their mother. This provides a first-hand experience of running a non-profit while contributing to the community.