the gift of giving


A big part of the fun of the holiday season is the giving of gifts, rather than the receiving. I’ve been watching my 13-year old daughter busily and joyfully planning the gifts she will give to our family members this year. That spirit of generosity brings happiness to others, but to ourselves as well. Spreading kindness is joyful, full stop.

a new life

One of the tenets of nancy dilts wardrobe consulting is to keep functional clothing in the use stream. Donation of clothing that is still in good shape but no longer being worn is a win-win for the environment and for people who do not have the means, for whatever reason, to purchase the clothing they need. Your old winter coat or suit can mean a new life for a recently arrived refugee or a woman escaping domestic abuse and starting over.

As we celebrate with our loved ones, here are some ways to also bring joy to others who may be struggling. There are many national charitable organizations like Goodwill and The Salvation Army that accept used clothing – these are great options.

In almost every community, there are also smaller, local organizations that offer services to specific groups of people in need. These organizations meet the immediate needs of their clients – interview and work wear for women and men developing job skills to enter the work force, a free-of-charge clothing shop for people who are homeless, winter outerwear for refugees who have been forced from their own countries.

These organizations are vital to the well-being of so many of our fellow citizens. Look online for local organizations in your community and consider a clothing or monetary donation to one of them.

Following are a few Twin Cities organizations that offer these kinds of services.

Dress for Success (national; local affiliate-St. Paul)

Professional clothing for women entering or re-entering the workforce.

International Institute of Minnesota (St. Paul)

Offers many services to new Americans, including winter outerwear for people who have recently arrived in Minnesota.

Joseph’s Coat (St. Paul)

Provides clothing and essential goods to individuals and families facing a variety of challenges, including homelessness.

Ready for Success (Minneapolis)

A program of Project for Pride in Living, Ready for Success offers business wear to low-income women and men entering the job force.

STEP-St. Louis Park Emergency Program (St. Louis Park)

Provides assistance and food and clothing to St. Louis Park residents in need.

Tubman – Harriet’s Closet (Minneapolis and Maplewood)

Harriet’s Closet offers clothing to women who are struggling with relationship violence, substance abuse, and mental health issues.


Celebrate the abundance of the season! The generosity of giving is powerful in untold ways. Comment below with other local organizations that help bring new life to people in your community.