One of the colleges in my area is working with the NAAMA to collect clothes, toys, and kitchenware for the people of Palestine.
The moment I got the message about this I was sooo excited. My mind started racing thinking about what clothes I can easily part with and what clothes must be stashed in the closet hidden away in boxes.
My son isn't even 1 1/2 yet but has a few bags of clothes and I decided to sort through his stuff as well. It was amazing how there was such a strong memory connected to each and every outfit I picked up. I was beaming holding all of them, but decided that they would benefit others much more than sitting in my closet. Sure inshaAllah in the future if I have another boy I could use these clothes, and even pass some onto my son for keepsake or for my potential grandson to use... but we can so easily get new clothes too and most likely will. Also, I already have pictures of him in like every outfit so I don't need to keep each and every one.
It felt so good to see the bags sitting in the corner. My heart felt lighter and so did the closets and the drawers.
While speaking with my mother on the phone one day I mentioned to her about the clothing drive and she too went into a frenzy blabbing on about what clothes were packed in the attic that were in mint condition and that she would love to send too. Soon she had about a dozen bags of clothes, packed and ready for drop off.
A friend of hers said she had a lot of abayas and hijabs and a few other clothes that she would love to donate and my mom told her to drop them by.
My mom noticed all her bags and her friends 2 bags of clothes were really mixed up, so she decided to sort them and label them: Girls, Boys, Women, Men, Shoes, Babies.. and so on.
When she opened up the bag of clothes the friend of her gave, after sorting a few she noticed a rank smell getting stronger and stronger. She knew for suuuuuuure it wasn't her breath (haha) and she hadn't cooked that day either. She stuck her head in the bag and took a sniff and almost fell backwards. She picked up the clothes and some of them smelled stale and some wreaked of sweat. Some hijabs still had hair in them, and some clothing had stains on them. Well she figured some small stains wasn't too much of a big deal but she noticed it was still hard. If the clothes were washed there was NO way the stain would be hard and whatever was on it could be scratched off. Even some of the dark clothes had vivid deodorant stains on the inside!
She called me:
Mom: Lazeena, are you dropping the clothes off tomorrow?
Me: I'm not sure, Malik (my husband) didn't go through his clothes yet.. so..
Mom: Okay can you take it Saturday or Sunday
Me: Alright... but I thought you said you were all done.
Mom: I was.. but I wanted to sort them and when I opened the bag from my friend I noticed that the clothes... they.. they smelled terrible!
Mom: They smell really bad. I know the people in Palestine are in great need for clothes, but come on! They're not animals, they're people who want nice, fresh clothes too. I can't send this, I have to wash it.
Me: Maybe the bag was in the kitchen while she was cooking or maybe-
Mom: Lazeena... no... There are stains on them and the armpits smell the strongest... they didn't wash the clothes before they gave it. I can't believe... I mean I can't just call them and tell them to do it. I don't want to be rude. But just because you're doing a favor for someone doesn't mean you do it this way. Now I have to go to 2 or 3 loads of laundry and then dry them all.
Me: Well.. maybe they forgot to wash it??? I dunno that's weird.
Mom: Even when your brother came out his room he could smell the clothes from down the hall Lazeena... Its like they wore it a few days in a row and then shoved it in this bag! i have a headache from it and I think I might need to just soak some of these overnight.
Me: Alright, well we still have until the end of next week to drop the clothes off anyway, so don't worry about it.. take your time..
Uhm... come on now! Yes it's virtuous to donate... but to give away your unwashed clothes is straight up nasty!!! I really hope it was some weird type of mix up or a slip of memory and they forgot to wash their stuff. That is just gross. The people in Palestine are not in need by choice, they aren't filthy people who will wear someones nasty clothes. Surely if someone is in need they will take what they're given or can get... but why would you give them something in that condition that they might wear like that or realize it's dirty and then have to take the time to go and wash it. Imagine if the bag wasn't opened and sent there and they got the clothes they would be even more disgusted with what their brothers and sisters are doing for them... or aren't rather. We barely do anything for them and when we finally do, we do it this way.
If any of you ever intend on donating clothes, please wash them before! with some really good smelling detergent and softener! No one wants to wear your unwashed clothes!