Monday, March 23, 2009

Thanks for your sweaty clothes!

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!
Me: What....??
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!


Anonymous said...

Wow. That was something. Even before I throw clothes in the garbage I wash them. Everything that is set aside for donation is always washed first. That is all about being respectful.

It's great you are collecting clothes for the people in Palestine. There must have been so many memories come flooding back when you looked at your sons old clothes. I know I get like that with K's clothing. I ended up saving all the old stuff for my sister who had a girl 8 months after me. Now we just donate everything. It always collects in the corner anyway!

Lollies said...

ewwwww I can smell it from here. :P

but that's not all. some people just dump anything they do not want into the bag and send it for donation. What a task for the volunteers to sort out things only to find heaps of rubbish.

Barakallahufik to you sister and all those who take their time to do this noble charity work.

Rabia said...

Some people forget that items given to charity will be used be actual people--people who would rather not have someone else's funk in the armpits of a donated shirt.

Unfortunately, it's not uncommon for people to donate things they are either too lazy to wash or if the item is too worn out to be used, just throw away.

Every year I go through our clothes and pull things that no longer fit or that we haven't worn in 2 or more years to go to the local survival center. Everything is washed, dried, and folded before it leaves the house. Most charities won't take dirty items or single gloves or socks, because they don't have the resources to wash them, so dirty items are tossed.

Masha'Allah, it's wonderful of your mother to take the time to wash these things so that they are actually useful.

kakchik said...

Assalamualaikum Sis.

What you've said is indeed what some of us were doing without thinking about the end receivers. I encountered the same problem a few times but not with clothes but books. As I'm working at a community library, we usually promote books donation from the local people. We even print out and paste the donation policy almost on every floor and every doors at the Library. But people (whom I believe has good intention) just do their spring cleaning and send us not all books but rubbish too. We have a small staff and clearing all the rubbish is sometime make us mad. However, we always try to enforce the policy and hopefully, those who'd like to donate will donate the real BOOKS.

You are doing a good job there Sis. I love reading your posts.

Mona said...

That's horrible. Maybe they just wanted to get rid of the laundry? lol, jk. But would the smell of b.o. funk be confusable with kitchen smells?

Nala said...

unfortunately a lot of ppl see these drives as a chance to get rid of old things rather than a chance to gain some rewards, and that the rewards are just a bonus sometimes! very horrible indeed.well inshallah your mom is rewarded for washing those clothes!!!

Hajar said...

That just stinks. *pun intended* Really, how would we feel if we are overjoyed that someone is kind enough to donate their clothes only to find it tattered, torn, filthy and stinky? Terrible, just terrible. :(

Random Muslima said...

Assalaamu alaykum,

I have been in your mum's shoes for dozen of times. And actually have stopped collecting from others and instead if feel giving more do garage sales or alike. (Usually I collect like five bags and end up with one that is ok to send :( )
I always try to think "would I be glad to receive this myself" and if not, dump it.
May Allah reward your mum for doing someone elses's laundry too and giving a thought to not to pass this clothes.

MuslimahonaDiet said...

Salam, wow, that dirty sock really scared me, i almost barfed: i am having breakfast . But hum, yeah, it is really bad adab. Never give away clothes that you wouldn't wear yourself (i.e. dirty and torn to pieces).

Anonymous said...

Thankfully, your mother is a wonderful lady. As someone who's family has received donated clothing, I am sadden to say that donating unwashed, stained, or clothing in other horrible condition is normal. But when your in need, you don't beg, you smile and say thank you and wear them with as much pride as you can.

Ms.Unique said...

Auzobillah min zalik haza .... It was really rude .... U know the salaf used to give the best dinar and dat too after putting the itar on it coz the charity goes in Allah's hands b4 it goes to the person's hand .... And habils sacrifice was not accepted coz the thing he offered was not a good one .... now would Allah take something dirty from us? Wouldn't we feel ashamed? Wouldn't we feel shocked on the day of Judgement when we come to know dat our charity was not accepted or rather dismayed? I think we need to reflect a lot on our actions b4 we execute them ... r we doing charity just for the sake of it or really for Allah's sake? May Allah guide us all Ameen ...

Hayley J said...

Eew. Really eew.
I couldnt give away stinky things! Id be too ashamed...
Also, I wouldnt want people remembering me as someone they think has the worlds worst B.O. or something, because the stuff I give them Pongs.
I guess when the stuff is for charity as well, its even worse; you're meant to make people feel better, not worse than they already do!
:) Unfortunately, I dont have any spare clothes at the moment, or I could have sent some.

Anonymous said...

that is just so wrong and nasty, these are the ones who make muslims look so terrible

PerplxinTexan♥ said...

I glad you insisted upon providing excuses? You're son is about

Anyways, usually when people donate clothes it's because they haven't worn them in sometime so for stains and such to be on them is beyond peculiar, unsanitary, and embarrassing.

They should have known. If families couldn't afford clothing what makes you think they could afford washing and drying?

Lazeena Umm Yusuf said...

whoaaaaaaaaaa 11? no way! That would mean I had him when I was 9 haha. He's about one and a half

Anonymous said...

EEW, donating dirty clothes? Come on people, get some decency and rationality.
PS: Your husband's name is Malik? My brother's name is Malik (: (: and I'm Laylah.

patchwork said...

Good act of kindness here...good thoughts.