Social Work Club collecting old clothes as first project
Anisa Jibrell – News Writer
After beginning his obligatory 400-hour internship, senior social work major, Patrick Ferraro went to the social work club with an idea.
Ferraro works under a caseworker at Marrakech Inc’s New Haven office, a social services organization that provides a wide array of programs for individuals with disabilities and assists individuals with housing, employment & more in the state of Connecticut, according to its website.
He said his supervisor works in the outreach and engagement program, which includes finding clients who are homeless in New Haven, putting those individuals on a case load, connecting them with a variety of services such as shelters, soup kitchens, medical assistance, and employment.
“Back in October I was just thinking,” said Ferraro, “there’s a closet in the agency where they keep clothing donations for clients. I went to Angelica and the social work club and thought it would be cool project to get behind.”
The unofficial, Social Work club has a box set up at the Lang house and is currently accepting old jackets, blankets, sweaters, socks and more—and has been since October. The Lang house is located right beside the Admissions house on Farnham Avenue.
“We’re collecting them throughout the entire winter, [and] people can still donate over the break,” said Angelica Hribko, senior social work major who has teamed up with Ferraro on the new project.
“We’ve gained a lot of momentum this month so we don’t really want to lose it just because the semester is ending,” said Ferraro.
According to the Connecticut General Assembly’s (CGA) ‘Connecticut Counts’ 2015 report on homelessness in Connecticut, 13.9 percent of the state’s homeless population lives in New Haven.
4,038 persons were homeless in Connecticut on the night of Feb. 28, the report states, and of that number, 3,000 people under age of 25 are homeless. This point-in-time count (PIT) of the homeless population is the lowest it’s ever been, according to the report.
Ferraro has started a Facebook page as well as a GoFundMe page, through which he has raised $140.
“At the end we’re going to use that to just buy whatever we can receive a lot of,” said Ferraro.
Social media has been the most helpful, said Ferraro, who was able to reconnect with an old friend from his town, East Haddam, who ended up donating four bags of clothing.
“I just post stuff on Facebook, I encourage friends to post stuff too. And before I knew it a friend of a friend had a donation,” said Ferraro.
Although this is the social work club’s first project, so far, Ferraro said, it’s been easy despite a couple of hurdles.
“Last year we didn’t really get to do any volunteering or going out, just because of everyone’s schedules and not really being able to come up with a meeting time that worked,” said Ferraro.
The club hasn’t been having much luck finding other locations on campus to place boxes due the complications of their unofficial status, but is working on expanding and officiating the club.
“I think having the project more convenient for the people involving has helped,” said Hribko, “and it’s no cost. If you have old clothes you’re not wearing, or old gloves, scarves, blankets you’re not using just give them away.“
To make things easier for those who want to get involved, Hribko and Ferraro have been driving to homes to pick up clothing donations.
“People are willing, that’s what I’ve noticed,” said Hribko. “It’s not a hassle for them. They want to help.”
For more information clothing donations or the social work club, email Angelica at email@example.com.
Photo Credit: Anisa Jibrell – News Writer
HEADER PHOTO: Senior social work majors Patrick Ferraro (left) and Angelica Hribko (right)