My parish youth group had a clothing drive last weekend. The parish encouraged everyone to clean out closets. Then, for two hours on Sunday afternoon, teens helped people unload donations as car after car pulled forward in our parking lot. It was a steady stream of traffic until, finally, we had unloaded 131 bags of clothing and shoes.
During the clothing drive, I was very pleased to notice that a number of families had made this a family event. They proudly shared that each person had cleaned out the unwanted clothing from his or her closet. Kids and parents hauled big garbage bags full of these clothes to donate to our drive. Families laughed and congratulated each other for their hard work and for helping this good cause.
What a wonderful lesson these family members are teaching each other. For some, it was a lesson in generosity. For others, it was an education in letting go. Some people learned the value of a job well done while others could simply revel in having a clean closet where they could easily see their remaining clothes. One girl told me that "even my Dad" was able to part with some of his unworn items.
The youth group members had a great time helping people unload their cars, stacking the bags of donations and thanking people for their clothing. They were able to minister to parishioners by helping them to be generous with their things.
The clothing drive was deemed a success in every way. We gathered a lot of clothing items for people who need them. Our parishioners, young and old, individuals and families, came together to work toward a common goal: fulfilling the corporal work of mercy to clothe the naked. Even more importantly for me, it was a physical sign that our Catholic values are being passed along from generation to generation.