Free cold-weather clothing will be available on Thursday at the South Valley Community Human Services in the Ashland Shopping Center.
Free cold-weather clothing will be available on Thursday at South Valley Community Human Services in the Ashland Shopping Center. The giveaway is co-sponsored by South Valley Community Human Services and a local charitable organization called Random Love Ashland.
There will be about eight large boxes of clothing available to those who need them.
"We will be offering winter coats, beanies, gloves, scarves and sweaters," said South Valley Community Human Services Eligibility Specialist Jose Mesta. "We wish we could have pants and other things available, but we won't."
Basic items, children's toys and necessities, such as hygiene products, will also be made available.
The warm clothing project, an extension of RLA's living essentials program, is an event more than a year in the making. It is the second special event co-coordinated By RLA and Community Human Services, the first being a giveaway of backpacks filled with school supplies. The bags were given to schoolchildren in need.
"About a year ago, we were approached by Random Love Ashland," Mesta said. "They were looking for a place that people could drop off clothing and necessities to be made available daily at the center for those in need."
The Community Human Services Center cooperated and made space available in the adjoining conference room.
RLA keeps its donors and coordinators anonymous. According to the group's website, www.LoveAshland.org, their philosophy is inspired by the ideas of "random acts of kindness," and "radical gratitude." The site describes the group's beliefe that anonymity makes it 100 percent non-religious, secular and agenda free, and gives it a "mysterious, rebel quality distinct from traditional charity."
It is in this spirit that members refused to attribute their names to any quotes.
A volunteer coordinator from RLA who declined to be identified said the Dollar Tree of Ashland donated all of the clothing and Wal-Mart of Medford and both were "very receptive and helpful."
"Kevin, the manager at Dollar Tree, has been wonderful and very enthusiastic," said the volunteer coordinator, "and Wal-Mart has been very receptive, donating to many organizations such as Random Love Ashland and ACCESS."
The volunteer described how RLA receives cash donations to purchase items such as hygiene products from Dollar Tree and Kevin normally makes generous donations at such times.
The RLA believes events like these are important awareness-raisers for those in Ashland who are concerned with the needs of others.
"There are a lot of concerned people in Ashland who want to help, but they don't realize there are a lot of things food stamps don't buy, the volunteer said, "and we want to get the word out."
Mesta would also like to see more events like this.
"I wish we could do something like this every week," he said, "but we need the donations."
The giveaway will take place Thursday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the South Valley Community Human Services Center, 1658 Ashland Street in the Ashland Shopping Center. There will be no forms to fill out or questions asked; anyone in need is eligible. Those interested in becoming involved with Random Love Ashland may contact the Web site at www.LoveAshland.org.