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It’s not what you wear, it’s where it comes from that matters

2 October 2015 |Media centre

More than 20 percent of goods donated to Vinnies never make it to the people that need it most.

Thousands of tonnes of damaged and dirty donated goods are not fit for use, costing more than $150,000 per year in disposal costs – funding better redirected to Vinnies' community support programs.

Recognising this staggering statistic, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank staff raided their wardrobes last month to donate about five tonnes of unneeded, yet good-quality items to those experiencing hardship, said Bendigo and Adelaide Bank's Executive Corporate Resources, Stella Thredgold.

"With more than 1,100 Bendigo and Adelaide Bank staff working out of our office at 80 Grenfell Street – and as one of the largest employers in the CBD – we believed we could make a difference, Ms Thredgold said.

"Our people have generously donated their business clothing, with the intention of improving the quality of clothing that Vinnies can sell to help fund their community programs, or just to donate.

"Hopefully, with the clothing we have donated, vulnerable members of our community can find their confidence again, and by having greater access to good quality clothing, keep themselves warm or increase their job prospects.

"If our Bank can help reduce the $150,000 that Vinnies spends on disposing of unusable clothing, imagine the ways they can further assist the community with those extra funds.”

Each year, Vinnies gives a hand up to more than 100,000 South Australians, through their home visitation program, budget counselling, accommodation service and Fred's Van, helping vulnerable members of society keep their families and lives together, while maintaining a sense of dignity.

Vinnies CEO, David Wark, said that Vinnies shops allowed people to buy the affordable, quality items they truly need.

"Having a choice about what we wear is a luxury that most of us take for granted, so we are extremely grateful for the staff at Bendigo and Adelaide Bank generously donating their pre-loved items,” he said.

"A large amount of the clothing, homeware and furniture that is donated to Vinnies stores, is provided free of charge to those who are struggling through a voucher system, so they can pick out the things they require with dignity.”

Committed to making an even bigger difference, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank approached Adelaide-based fashion company, Australian Fashion Labels to contribute to the clothing drive.

Australian Fashion Labels Creative Director, Melanie Flintoft, said that donating to the clothing drive would hopefully enable more people in the community to feel confident in themselves with access to good quality garments.

"At Australian Fashion Labels, our clothes are designed to make the wearer feel empowered and confident.

"I hope that by contributing to the Vinnie's clothing drive we have been able to help make a difference to those who are less fortunate.”

With 34 locations in South Australia, everything bought or donated at a Vinnies store directly assists the homeless, hungry and marginalised, either through the proceeds of sales, or given freely to the increasing amount of individuals who approach Vinnies for assistance.

Quality donations of clothing, blankets, toys and bric-a-brac can be donated directly to Vinnies stores, or to arrange free home-collection of quality pre-loved furniture and beds, phone (08) 8112 8777.

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