November 19, 2018

Coats, mittens, gloves among items most needed at VUMC Clothes Closet

During cold weather, people need warm clothes

Mittens scarf hat on withe background

UPDATE: The Clothes Closet now is well stocked with items, with the exception of men’s pants and men’s shoes. Those are the only items currently being accepted, as of Jan. 18, 2019.

The Clothes Closet is a volunteer project at VUMC serving people who end up at the hospital in need of a warm coat, a pair of shoes, or clean clothes.

Peggy Buchanan, the guest service representative who oversees the closet, says that garments and shoes are donated by individuals, and are provided without charge to people who need them.

“This cold weather has already depleted our inventory of men’s coats, hats, gloves, mittens and shoes. Our cupboards are bare.”

Often trauma and burn patients need clothes because they didn’t expect to be in a hospital and find themselves a long way from home with no clothes of their own.

Indigent patients who are discharged often need clean clothes, a coat, and gloves or mittens.

Whatever the cause, the Clothes Closet provides a vital need.

Buchanan says that donations are always needed, but especially this time of year.

“This cold weather has already depleted our inventory of men’s coats, hats, gloves, mittens and shoes. Our cupboards are bare,” she said.

The mittens are especially useful for patients who are missing digits, she said.

All sizes of clothes are accepted, and both men’s and women’s are needed. They should be clean, and either new or lightly-used.

A regular donor provides new socks and undergarments for men and women, so donations of those are not needed. There is a separate closet for children’s clothes at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

A list of the items most needed by the Clothes Closet is below. The items should be clean and in good condition.

  • Men’s and Women’s coats and heavy jackets. All sizes.
  • Gloves and mittens
  • Men’s and Women’s T-shirts. All sizes S, M, L, XL, XXL, 3X, 4X & 5X.
  • Men’s and Women’s shorts, leggings, warm ups, sweats, slacks and jeans. All sizes.
  • Men’s and Women’s flip-flops, sandals (flat only), slippers, athletic shoes, casual, and dress shoes (flat only, no high heels). All sizes.

Items that need washing, repairing, ironing or dry cleaning are not helpful.

Items may be dropped off at the information desks at Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital or Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt seven days a week between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Those wanting documentation for tax purposes may include a name and address so that a year-end thank-you letter may be sent from Volunteer Services.

Employees wishing to access clothes on behalf of patients may contact Case Management or Guest Services at 615-322-1000.

For more information about the Clothes Closet, contact Buchanan at peggy.buchanan@vumc.org.

photo: iStock