Clothesline for Men Offers Volunteering Opportunities

By James Leonard | News Editor

SCRANTON – University students are within feet from a new volunteering opportunity.

The Clothesline For Men is a satellite of Scranton’s Friends Of The Poor initiative where individuals can come and pick out clothing and hygienic supplies to use to get back into the workplace.

University of Scranton Coordinator of Local Service and Community Outreach, Lynn Gavin said that there is clothing available for men working in all fields.

“We offer anything from full suits and belts, to Dickies pants and work boots,” Gavin said. “We even offer things such as underwear and socks which we really need more of.”

The clothesline also offers fitting rooms for individuals to try things on before walking out, along with complimentary gift bags with each order which include essential items such as razors, socks, underwear and other items.

“Those who shop at the Clothesline for men do so by filling out an application, which is then approved by us and a sponsor,” Gavin said. “These individuals can then fill out exactly what they are looking for on a sheet and our volunteers will put the order together for them so it is ready for them to pick up.”

According to Gavin, the service originally offered in-store shopping hours like a department store, but due to COVID-19 concerns, it had to put that service to a halt.

“Sometimes it gets cluttered here with so many bags, but with the help of student volunteers we are able to get organized quickly as new donation bags come in almost daily,” Gavin said. “We were receiving so much stuff, that we had to acquire another house, which conveniently is right next door.”

Aside from putting together orders, volunteers also assist in going through donation bags that are dropped off on the porch in garbage bags.

“I tell my volunteers, if you wouldn’t wear it then get rid of it,” Gavin said.

Gavin said she is grateful for the opportunity to take charge of the newly acquired buildings to use for the service just outside of campus on Linden Street across from the university’s Linden apartments.

“This is a dream job for me. I have volunteered and done community work my whole life and after working at the university for 27 years I think this is perfect,” Gavin said.

The concept of the service was developed over eight years ago by a duo of women who used the house to run their operation in giving underprivileged men proper clothing to either get back in the workforce after being in prison or immigrants to the area among other situations according to Gavin.

Gavin said that students really seem to enjoy volunteering at the clothesline. Nursing major Abbey Knight said although she has completed required service hours for her program, this isn’t the end of volunteering for her.

“I love it so much I’m going to come back even after my hours are done,” Knight said.

Some students are using their opportunity at the clothesline to help those in need and bring joy to others. Senior Occupational Therapy major Erin Grell said those who have the time should volunteer.

“As humans we have an obligation to help each other and bring good into the world,” Grell said.

Students who would like to volunteer for The Clothesline For Men can expect to work in shifts that are flexible for students schedules. As of now shifts start at 1 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays and ends at 3 p.m. The first shift unbags the products and the second files orders.

For those looking to donate, high demand items the clothesline is looking for include sneakers, work boots and underwear. The clothesline has an average of 12 to 15 orders per week. Each order consists of over 15 individual items.

Other services offered by the Friends Of The Poor at the Clothesline For Men are arts and crafts and freshly cooked meals and baked goods on site.

To sign up to volunteer for the Clothesline For Men, individuals can scan the QR code or visit the link below. Sign-ups are released monthly so keep on the lookout.