Overcrowded malls, ridiculously long MRT lines, daily traffic jams—it’s the story of our lives here in Metro Manila. So when statistics reveal that our capital is the most densely populated city in the globe, with 42,857 people per square kilometer to be exact, the numbers aren’t too shocking. Based on 2015 data, there are about 12.8 million dwelling in the Metro, which increases to about 15 million during the daytime.
With demographics like these, it makes you wonder what percentage of the population have a roof over their heads. Or worse, how much of the homeless population has even been accounted for.
Despite our booming economy, our country is plagued with astounding rates of poverty and homelessness. In 2014, Manila had the world’s highest rate of homelessness at 3.1 million, of which 70,000 of them are children, and with population growing year after year, the number of homeless people has likely only to have risen.
At times, citizens can feel powerless as they’re conditioned to believe that only the government can solve the homelessness problem at a large scale. But change starts at the ground level and works its way up. It’s up to every one of us to improve the lives of the needy. We all can make a difference.
How, you might ask?
For starters, how about donating some of your old clothes?
Many of us have grown attached to material things like our clothing items, and while there’s nothing wrong with valuing our possessions, we do need to take a good look at our wardrobes and ask ourselves, “Do I really need that?” The Christmas season is all about love and giving, and if you ask me, more of us need to celebrate by helping the needy.
Unlike other cities around the world, we don’t have clothing donation bins readily available around the Metro. So if you aren’t entirely sure where to drop your donations at, here are a few places to get you started:
All of Metro Manila
Heading to the mall? Don’t forget to bring a bag of old clothes with you! Part of H&M Foundation’s plan for sustainability is recycling damaged clothes and redistribute used clothes is good condition. The foundation also sends money donations to UNICEF Philippines for every kilogram of garment collected.
Another plus for dropping clothes off at your nearest H&M store is the discounts for your next visit. You can receive up to two vouchers (each worth 15%) in exchange for your donations.
Along with blood donations, the Philippine Philippine Red Cross accepts other forms of donations for disaster relief. They prefer in-kind donations at their headquarters in Manila, which alternatively you could have them sent via LBC. You may also contact them to arrange a donation pick-up if you don’t have time for the first two options.
This organization began as a small non-profit that focused on the welfare of children, which then led to the opening of their orphanage and the launch of community-based programs for street kids. Clothing donations can be dropped off at the Precious Heritage Children’s House, though it might be worth it to spend some time there with the kids.
Literally meaning ‘secondhand,’ this organization under Caritas Manila aids various poor populations in the region. Segunda Mana accepts donations in-kind at their main office in Malate. However, you can also schedule a donation pick-up.
If you’ve outgrown your clothes or have siblings’ clothes to donate, send them here. Clothes and footwear will be accepted at their Community Childcare Centers in Pasig. Additionally, you can donate educational supplies, sports equipment, supplements and food.
Operation Blessing Foundation focuses on five areas of vulnerable populations: children, disaster response, healthcare, livelihood and infrastructure. Drop off your old clothes and shoes at their office in Pasig, or set up an appointment to learn more about the organization.
The Tzu Chi Foundation doesn’t only focus on the welfare of vulnerable populations. It also has a recycling program that accepts more than just clothing donations. Think cardboard boxes, plastic and glass bottles, newspaper, old appliances, etc. So if you’ve got any of those lying around, bring them along with your clothing donation.
Another nonprofit that targets disaster relief, Citizens’ Disaster Response Center repackages all donations (food and non-food items) to create boxes for victims of natural disasters and other emergencies. You can drop off your clothing donations in person.
Goodwill Industries operates a thrift shop that resells your goods, with proceeds going towards training and work placement for persons with disabilities. Smaller donations can be given in-store in Taguig. You can also arrange for a pick-up if you’ve got bigger packages.
Most charities in and around the city prefer cash, books, toys and medical supplies over clothing donations. You can always visit your nearest H&M store and drop off your used clothes. Also, LBC branches nationwide accepts donations on behalf of Red Cross Philippines, so that’s another option. And lastly, for clothes you want to recycle, the Tzu Chi Foundation has a Cebu Liaison Office in Mandaue City.
Sheena is the lead fashion writer here at Pretty Me Philippines and has contributed articles for numerous lifestyle blogs and online publications. Other than keeping up with the latest trends, she loves baking and home DIY projects.