Over 225 pounds of clothing donated to Hearts for the Homeless

UB students donate to the less fortunate


David Fineberg has seen homeless people walk into the Hearts for the Homeless center in Buffalo covered in snow but wearing flip-flops.

But thanks to the generosity of some UB students, about 225 more pounds of clothing will be made available to the homeless population of Western New York, which includes more than 5,750 people, according to the Homeless Alliance of Western New York.

The UB Office of Sustainability and Hearts for the Homeless held a clothing drive in the Student Union Friday. Although the Office of Sustainability holds charity events throughout the semester, this was their first time teaming up with Hearts for the Homeless. The program, which originated as a mobile soup kitchen, has been helping to feed and clothe the homeless in Buffalo for about 17 years. It also owns the red bins around campus to collect unwanted clothing and shoes.

Kathleen Da Silvia, a junior environmental studies major and a student assistant for the Office of Sustainability, said now is the best time to host a clothing drive because the weather is freezing. She said most unwanted clothing ends up in a landfill.

“I’m very happy with the outcome of this event,” said Finberg, a Hearts for the Homeless site coordinator. “It was a great experience and I think we got a lot of great exposure to the students. The good thing about us is that 95 percent of the clothing recycled can be reused regardless if it’s been worn or torn.”

He has been with the organization since 2013 and said he’s happy to be able to give the homeless new socks, undergarments and clothing, especially this time of year.

Da Silva, who has worked with the Office of Sustainability for three years, said student assistants and volunteers try to push for student engagement for events such as the clothing drive.

Claudio Sinchi, a senior English major, donated a bag of clothing on Friday. He said he heard about the event from flyers posted around campus.

“I have a lot of clothing at home that I don’t wear,” Sinchi said.

Fineberg said he has been in constant contact with UB Campus Living’s sustainability coordinator, Kenneth Kern, and sent him reports about how much they have received from students on campus. Between May 2014 and February 2015, the university has donated 31,000 pounds of clothing and shoes to Hearts for the Homeless, according to Kern.

“I feel that sustainability is interdisciplinary so I think that when you plan events it can’t all be just, ‘We recycle, so now you recycle.’ We look at different areas,” Da Silva said.

She said the clothing drives helps sustainability efforts because the clothes might normally end up going to waste.

“But we actually get to help someone in need instead,” Da Silva said. “It’s important to view all these things as sustainability.”

Jashonda Williams is a staff writer and can be reached at news@ubspectrum.com