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The Fledge Foundation In Lansing Says It’s Overwhelmed With Clothing Donations

Courtesy The Fledge
Courtesy The Fledge
The Fledge recommends contacting them ahead of time to schedule a time to drop off donations.

A Lansing organization says it’s overwhelmed by the number of clothing donations it’s been receiving during the pandemic.

The Fledge Foundation is a nonprofit that meets essential needs and provides mentorship and educational opportunities.

The foundation is part of The Fledge community center which has been in operation for six and a half years and has been based in Lansing for three and a half years.

It also includes a "free store" where people can come and pick up clothing and household essentials like food, personal care items, and harm reduction supplies.

Managers at The Fledge started noticing the increase in people giving to the free store right when the pandemic hit.

“It was immediate," said founder Jerry Norris. "We had a small cloth pantry before the pandemic. And during the pandemic, people were asking us for clothes almost every time they came for food. And so Shannon decided to open the free store. And as soon as we announced that free store being open, that's when the dumping started."

But Fledge Executive Director Shannon Norris said that dumping creates a set of challenges for the foundation.

“Just last week, we had about six boxes of clothing dumped at the food stand," Shannon Norris said. "And those are just things that we have a hard time managing because if I don't know what's coming, I don't have that scheduled into my day. And I may not have room for that particular item."

Jerry Norris adds that when clothes piles up, it leaves them with less space to provide other services at the Fledge.

"It starts to encroach on, you know, let's say our 3D printers for example," Jerry Norris said. "We've got a whole room in there. But because people have dumped and left stuff here, we're using half of it for storage right now. And it's not fair to the people that are in here working, that somebody would just dump their stuff here without talking to us about it, because it does cause us harm."

Shannon and Jerry Norris recommend contacting The Fledge Foundation ahead of time to schedule a donation.

The organization is always in need of children and adult diapers and adult clothes sizes 2 to 4x.

For those looking to donate clothes, they also encourage people to contact Volunteers of America.

Megan Schellong is the local host and producer for Morning Edition on WKAR.
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