Several weeks ago, eight large cardboard boxes arrived at our Maywood office. Inside were more than 300 pairs of denim blue jeans from the North Riverside Mall Aéropostale store. The donation came to us thanks to the largest not-for-profit exclusively for young people wanting to make positive social change. The TEENS FOR JEANS campaign is one of the ways young people can addresses Homelessness & Poverty—by collecting jeans for local youth experiencing homelessness using a digital platform to doing good. DoSomething.org has millions of members representing every U.S. area code and 131 countries. Other causes supported by the movement include Education, Gun Violence, Mental Health, Environment, Sexual Harassment, Bullying, Racial Justice, LGBTQ+ and Gender Rights and Voter Registration.
Over the last several years, DoSomething members have collected over 5 million pairs of jeans for youth in homeless shelters around the country. Together with national retailer Aéropostale, it is the LARGEST youth-led denim drive EVER.
Local Aéropostale stores provided the drop-off points, and all jeans donated by early March were sent to local shelters and agencies like Housing Forward. For teens in homeless shelters, jeans are one of the most requested items. Everyone who brought in a pair, was invited to upload a photo to be entered for a chance to win a $500 scholarship, and the individual collecting the most jeans won a $1,000 scholarship. Schools that organized a collection and donated the most jeans won a $10,000 grant.
Gail and Casey, two of our Housing Forward volunteers, got right to work sorting and labeling the jeans of all types, shades and sizes. They will be available to shelter clients as well as anyone who visits the clothes closet in our Support Center. We sincerely appreciate this practical donation, and the caring young people who came together to make it happen.