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Swap Clothes, Save Lives

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What if you could help save lives simply by swapping clothes? Swap for Good is a new nonprofit project to encourage people to host clothing swaps as a way to help raise money for domestic violence shelters. During the recession, funding for shelters has plummeted while requests for help have gone up. And according to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, in just one day over nine thousand requests for help went unmet, largely due to lack of funds. 


Swap for Good was founded by San Francisco neighbors Orli Cotel and Brianna Cayo Cotter with the goal of helping people to raise awareness and money for this important cause. The idea is simple: hosts invite over some friends and ask everyone to bring a bag of clothes (or books, accessories, kitchen appliances—you name it) and a donation for the cause. Everyone gets a chance to trade in their old stuff and find new clothes or books for free, and then chips in some of the money they’ve saved on shopping to help a local domestic violence shelter. 


The idea has quickly grown into a national project, with nearly a hundred swaps registered in over fifteen states around the country. 


October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month, so it’s a great time to sign up to host a swap and raise some extra money for this important cause. Swaps can be small private parties in your living room, or a big event in a public venue. There’s also a handy how-to guide that makes it easy for hosts to organize their swap, with information about how to run a swap and sample text for inviting your friends. 


Swap for Good parties are a great way to promote creative reuse, build community, and help a worthy cause. It is an all-volunteer project, with no paid staff, and no office, so there are no overhead costs and all the money raised by hosts goes directly to the cause. As shelters around the country are seeing their budgets get cut, you can help provide the funds for life-saving services to women in need in your area by hosting or attending a Swap for Good event.

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