"I know we lost all our clothes in the hurricane, but, please, Mom, do I have to wear this Nehru jacket?"

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Groovy Threads, a vintage clothing store on Cherry Street in Tulsa, has been collecting items to help people who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

Here's a letter from Valerie Stefan, owner of Groovy Threads, which she sent to fellow business owners about what she's trying to do to help and the obstacles she's encountering:


Dear Friend,

As of September 1, 2005, Groovy Threads started a clothing drive for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. To date we have collected thousands of items, including: clothing (new & gently worn) toothbrushes, hair products, food, children’s items & other basic essentials.

Our original plan was to work in coalition with a specific local charity to get these greatly needed items to the evacuees on the coast & around the nation.

As of September 12, 2005, the charity that we had hoped to work closely with has become overwhelmed with donations & has gently refused our items.

Our new plan of action is to get a coalition of local businesses to make monetary donations of any amount so that we can cover the price of Uhauls & gas to get these much needed items to the people so greatly affected by this disaster.

Our plan is to take items to evacuees in Oklahoma first & then make a trip to Houston & possibly Mississippi.

Please consider helping us, as we continue to take in much needed donations for these unfortunate people who have lost everything.

We will not quit taking donations. We will continue to do our best to accommodate all items until we have the funds to personally deliver the donations to the specified areas.

For more information I can be contacted at Groovy Threads 588.1970. Email address: valeriestefan@cox.net

Thank you for your time & consideration,

Valerie Stefan

Owner Groovy Threads Vintage

Valerie is hoping to take supplies to the Slidell, La., area on October 2, if she has the means to get herself and the supplies down there. If you can help make the trip possible, please contact her at the above phone number or e-mail address.

(The title is just a bit of fun. I'm pretty sure that Valerie is taking ordinary 21st century clothes to the hurricane victims, not her store's normal stock in trade.)

(I am a bit disturbed that a vintage clothing store would boast of having the "Best '80s music in town!" 1880s, surely! Why, I was in college in the 1980s. Nothing vintage about the 1980s, he said, shaking his grey head in dismay.)


susan said:

It would help Valerie if she would try and coordinate with the American Red Cross wherever she is trying to take her items. They may or may not need what she has at that location but possibly Mississippi or another shelter that is not well stocked. Also Red Cross or the SALVATION ARMY should have a delivery truck that will pick up her donations without asking people for donations for gas. It helps if you coordinate with the American Red Cross because the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army are at the shelters and know what needs at each shelter around the U.S. One thing when I worked at Camp Gruber was people bringing in tons of clothing which would be in bags that could easily tear. Please remember, it helps the shelter workers and American Red Cross if you already have the clothes separated by girl/boy, men/women, teens, winter/summer/, and then by size. I would like to mention since so many people are giving so much to the shelters, Valerie should consider giving her many items to our own needed shelters in Tulsa county. Family and Children Services, our Tulsa Country homeless shelters, the Red Cross knows all the needs of our own Tulsa county shelters that go through many needs of clothing for our own needy. Winter and fall is coming soon. It was 64 degrees tonight and it will soon be cold. Donate your old jackets and coats, winter boots and something that has never been mentioned that
many evacuee wanted was a backpack. They had nothing to keep their own needs in. We had some donated suitcases but they went very fast. Some wanted Bibles and they were gone very quickly as many look to God for strength. The Bible gives them comfort. The Gideons might consider offering Bibles if the evacuees would like one for free. It does not surprise me on news reports that many evacuees plan NOT to relocate in Louisiana. With their Mayor and Governor, I some are expected to live in Houston, Texas and other places around the country. I personally think REDBIRD offering free land is a great idea for evacuees that want a fresh start.

Penny said:

What a great idea. I have several friends that have been working with the Red Cross, Salvation Army and Catholic Charities as well as going directly to Camp Gruber to help the evacuees. The common theme among the everyone I've talked to (evacuees and volunteers alike) is that the evacuees need EVERYTHING. The rumor that they have enough clothing is false. The clothing that was originally distributed to the families was dropped off in unmarked bags with no consideration given to the needs of the people within the families. A lot of times they would only be able to find one outfit out of 4 bags of useless clothing. We have evacuees in Tulsa that are trying to find jobs and have nothing they can wear to an interview and others that have children wearing the same clothes to school each day because they only have one outfit to wear. Giving is a good thing always, but I never thought it made much sense to give a man a fur coat when he's stranded in the desert. Charity is only charity if it actually helps the person you're giving it to. The Red Cross and FEMA have stopped giving out funds to the victims and who knows if they will start again and yet, the Red Cross continually asks for more money for the hurricane victims? Hmmm...makes you stop and thing. Kudos to Valerie for taking the bull by the horns and going directly to the people who need the help. This is the only way to be sure the folks actually get what they need. Thank you Michael for posting this information and giving us a local, personal resource to direct our relief effort towards.

susan said:

My family volunteered at Camp Gruber at the beginning when they first arrived. Realize, there were bags and bags and bags of clothes given. I don't have any clue who would donate shoes that were in such poor condition. We had piles of shoes that I would have thrown in the trash they were in such bad shape. I have no idea where the shoe pile came from but my daughter and I gave the best shoes out and they all went VERY FAST! It would be nice if they could figure out who gave all those unsightly shoes to educate them as to how to give to the truly needy. Like the above post, we want to give to their needs. Thankfully many of the evacuees had pretty nice looking shoes for the most part they looked well fitted and comfortable that most told me they owned before the hurricane in Louisiana. Not all of these evacuees were poor and had resouces to get out of the camp as soon as they located other relatives/loved ones. My husband and son helped locate others that were in other shelters. I did see the nice story in the T.W. today on "Doing her Part" Groovy Threads owner.
Salvation Army if she called the Tulsa office and talked to the people that run this wonderful organization, I am sure they would pick up all the clothing. There is need to have all that cost in transportation. We have donated a lot to Salvation Army and at Camp Gruber they were wonderful to all the evacuees bringing NEW toys and NEW things for everyone. The SALVATION ARMY also has a very reputable Board which stands behind the way SALVATION ARMY is run in Tulsa. Also realize, clothing was donated with most people having no idea what sizes were needed. Whoever wants to locate in Oklahoma and find a job and settle down, the mothers should make a list of the sizes and items she needs and a master list of evacuees with Identification can post this with the Red Cross computer system. The Red Cross has everyone identified by now that are evacuees to keep out those trying to get free items posing as an evacuee. This already happened at Camp Gruber. On our way out of Camp Gruber, people were already being searched at the gate by the guards.
For moms and dads and teens old enough to work that need a job interview outfit, post the size and needs and I am sure all community newspapers, t.v. websites, radio websites, can make a link on each of the websites as to the on-going daily evacuees needs so these good people can get back on their feet again. Stores such as SEARS, PENNY'S, WAL-MART, should also be willing to search these websites/links and see if they can help with all of the clothing and shoes needs as these type stores are always trying to clear out NEW clothing they consider out of season that would be perfectly acceptable for school clothes and work clothes. My daughter is a valedictorian and OU Club of Tulsa scholarship winner and in Norman she loved going to HAROLDS for really nice clothing that had wonderful SALES. Perhaps it might have a slight defect which is not visible to most people yet looks WOW -- YOU LOOK FANTASTIC FOR THE JOB! HAROLD'S is just one store. Think of MISS JACKSON'S and ALL THE WAL-MARTS AROUND THE COUNTRY that also sell nicer clothing. If we could get stores to pitch in around the country where people will settle to all help, this would help dramatically. Spending BILLIONS on Lousiana to rebuild -- the FED GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO STOP PUTTING PEOPLE ON THE DISASTER RELIEF COMMITTEE IN CHARGE OF BLOWING MONEY WITHOUT THINKING OF THE REAL PROBLEMS FIRST AND HOW TO REALLY SOLVE THEM. These evacuees need jobs.
There are already investigations on showing money given not ending up where it was supposed to go. When Pres. Bush said it SHOULD NOT raise our taxes, did anyone think "should" does not mean "would" so it's still very possible this massive spending plan is going to make your paycheck smaller with even more taxes taken out.
It's getting ridiculous to having to work 25% to 30% of your paycheck to go for taxes. Having teens start new jobs, this is an outcry of injustice to them. We as taxpayers should ask our congressmen and senators to help curb back the money taken out which is expected by the IRS.
Should the poor decide it doesn't pay to work with all the benefits they receive from the government and have other taxpayers pay the bill for many capable but too lazy to work or too uneducated to work? We need to educate the poor and help them find a job they can do. It may be sweeping floors, cleaning, mowing, etc. I am sure many of you can go to your local Quick Trip at lunch time and see many you wonder if they are in this country legally? Some of these that are here temporarily from Mexico don't speak English and they are not educated but they are some of the hardest workers you have ever seen.
Ever seen who roofers hire to do roofing? Lawn companies? The government needs to stop throwing money away and start thinking how to really help the poor start getting jobs and paying their own taxes so it is not such a burden on what the government takes out on the common household paycheck.

susan said:

Don't forget the people in our own Tulsa County shelters that have the same needs as what I just posted. When they go out and try to look for a job, they could also use a stylish job interview outfit and clothes for their children that want to be accepted by others wherever they are attending school.


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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on September 16, 2005 10:54 PM.

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