Prior to the October bushfires in Northern NSW that destroyed my father’s home – and 63 others – I hadn’t heard of an organisation called ‘Thread Together’.
Among the thousands of messages of support and offers of assistance I received in those first horrible few hours, one of them simply said:
Hi Carol, I run a charity called Thread Together. We can help you and all those have recently been affected by the Bush fires. Please email me to get in contact Anthonyc@threadtogether.org
I saw it but put it aside for a few days while I tried to help my father with the more immediate and personal crisis, but then I went back to it to find out more – what Google showed me was amazing.
Thread Together is a charity based around the fashion retail industry and their mission is simple:
Thread Together is the only organisation in Australia whose main mission and focus is to source new and excess clothing from fashion retailers and redistribute items to those in our communities that need it most. In five years we have distributed over $8 million worth of new clothing to people in our community who are vulnerable and in need.
Turned out ‘Anthony’ is Anthony Chesler, the CEO of Thread Together which was founded by Andie Halas in 2012. The Board of Thread Together is also an incredible group of people including Jackie Frank and others with expertise from the fashion retail industry, corporate advisory, tech and more.
Within days of the devastating fires in Rappville and Busby’s Flat, Anthony and the Thread Together team had a truck with 2500 pieces of brand new clothing on the way to Casino. At absolutely no cost. All we needed to find was someone who could help handle distribution in Casino.
Another tiny, local charity called ‘Our Two Hands’ worked on the ground to receive the clothing and set up a distribution centre so that those who had lost their homes could visit and select new clothing. (Some of the funds I raised went to Our Two Hands – Bianca is still raising funds to help the locals affected up there.)
I think that’s an important point: being able to choose your own clothing, and to be able to be provided with new clothing. It’s a simple recognition of the importance of allowing people some dignity.
When disasters hit, we all want to help and our gut reaction is to provide stuff … clothes, food, etc.
But what people need is for us to support them by enabling them to make their own choices – particularly clothing – underwear, bras … whatever is needed.
And frankly, piles of unwanted stuff just become a problem for the recipients and local councils or organisations who have to deal with it.
So for Thread Together, here’s all you need to know. If you’re in a community that has been affected by the current NSW bushfires, or you know of other people or communities who could benefit from this support – contact them.
As of today (Sat 9 November), they’re looking for someone to help with distribution of new clothing to those affected by the fires around Forster.
Media mates? These people are a great story you need to tell!
- Anthony Chesler – CEO
- 0414 221 975