If you are one to drop your old clothing off at bins at the in Cutchogue, then you’ve helped your town become the most successful municipal collection facility for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Long Island.
In 2011, the collected 58 tons of clothing to benefit the charitable agency — the most out of any municipality on Long Island, according to a statement released today. Southold’s Recycle Center has had Big Brothers Big Sisters of Long Island clothing dropboxes on their property for over a decade.
“Southold is proud of its relationship with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Long Island and how it has contributed to the reuse and recycling of thousands of tons of textiles collected at the Cutchogue transfer station since the late 1990’s,” said James Bunchuck, Solid Waste Coordinator for the Town of Southold. “Not only has this program been a success in terms of reducing waste disposal, it’s enabled Southold to partner with an organization dedicated to actually improving the lives of people in our own backyard.”
According to Big Brothers Big Sisters, over 500 million pounds of clothing is thrown away per year on Long Island alone, and only 10 percent of clothing is recycled, with the rest becoming a part of the waste stream and landfills. Each week, Big Brothers Big Sisters diverts 212,000 pounds of toxic textiles from landfills and eliminates it from the waste stream.
From there, 40 percent of the clothing collected stays right here on Long Island and is re-sold at Savers Thrift Stores. The remainder is shipped to other Savers Thrift Stores across the country. Any clothing that is not suitable for re-sale is used as rag weight, becoming filler for items such as couches and chairs.
Ultimately, 100 percent of the net proceeds from clothing donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters support mentoring programs, which matches children in their program who could benefit from an additional caring adult in their life with a volunteer mentor. Once matched, the Bigs and Littles get together a couple of hours a couple of times a month.
This past May, Ashley Loreto of Cutchogue was matched with little sister Kaitlyn.
“My Little Sister Kaitlyn and I have only been matched for a short time, but I can already tell that it is the best decision I have ever made,” says Ashley. “We do fun things like bike riding, going to the beach, visiting the aquarium or just talking and laughing. I came into this thinking that I would be helping a child, but I had no idea how much she would impact me.”
Not only are the donations collected alleviating environmental stress, they are positively impacting the future of children facing adversity right here on Long Island.
“Our relationship with Big Brother and Big Sister is providing Southold residents the opportunity to put into practice the principle of “thinking globally and acting locally,” says Bunchuck. “It’s gratifying to know our efforts are a part of something so special.”
Anyone wishing to donate their used clothing to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Long Island may do so at the Town of Southold Recycling Center in Cutchogue or visit the Big Brothers Big Sisters website at www.bbbsli.org to find a clothing bin nearest you. If you are a business that would like to support Big Brothers Big Sisters of Long Island, call Joanne Kassebaum at (631) 234-0000 x115.