Thanks to all who attended the Beer Runners’s Ball we raised $500 which FBR donated to Clothes-Pin. The donation would not have been possible without the generosity of the FBR members, as well as the in-kind donations from the Fairmount Rowing Association, Philadelphia Brewing Company, and St. Benjamin Brewing Company. We also collected 200 articles of clothing and 50 pairs of sneakers which Clothes-Pin distributed to the Bethesda Project, which serves 7,000 homeless citizens city-wide every year who desperately need clothing and shoes. According to Michael Resnic, one of Clothes-Pin founders, “Wow, thank you very much for the donation. This donation will allow us to expand our services and continue to raise awareness for those in need in our city”. Special thank you to the Ball Committee (Stacia Studt, Mallory Bernstein, Wendy Framel, Sue Sterback, Alexis Zebrowski, and Leonard DeProspo) for making it all happen, and of course to all who attended and brought food! Not only do we run and drink but we also care!
In 2006, Michael Resnic and his 10-year old daughter Madeline were shocked to see sanitation workers clear away clothes Philadelphia Marathoners had shed at the start of the race. “There was just a phenomenal amount of clothes strewn all over. Later when we saw the crews throwing bundles of it into trash trucks, it was one of those moments where you say to yourself, something is wrong here”. Michael and Madeline scooped up as many items as they could, about 50 pieces of clothing in all, and donated them to a homeless shelter. Madline noted “I thought we should start collecting the clothes and give them to homeless men and women because it would really help them during the winter.” Just a few Novembers later, the Resnics had about 30 volunteers (many of whom were homeless themselves) assisting them at the start of the 2010 Philadelphia marathon. Together, they collected 134 trash bags worth, or about 6,000 pieces, of gear.
What began as a small endeavor has grown into something much larger. Clothes-pin has collected 50,000 pieces of clothing to date, and has expanded to include other races such as the Broad Street Run and the ODDyssey Half Marathon, as well as the upcoming Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon and the Ragnar Relay Race Series-Pennsylvania. Although clothes-pin shipped clothes to Haiti after the earthquake there in 2010, the donated clothes typically go to a homeless shelter in the city of the race. Given their founding in Philadelphia, clothes-pin is focused here, and all clothes collected in Philadelphia go to the Bethesda Project, a local organization for the homeless that cleans, sorts, and ultimately distributes these clothes to homeless throughout the city. Much of these tasks are done by the homeless themselves, giving them meaningful work and structure.
The lack of clean clothing and, in particular, shoes, causes great hardship for the homeless beyond exposure the elements – it negatively impacts self-image and the chance to get ahead. “The support of the local running community is what’s gotten us this far.” Resnic notes, “we keep finding new ways to help”.
Thank you to all of you who helped, and continue to help, address homelessness in Philadelphia.