WEARABLE CHARITY

Summit Cleaners wants your clothes.

Not just to clean but to give to those in need.

The Seymour dry cleaning business is collecting donations of gently used clothing from the community through Dec. 13.

Former Seymour resident Jason Stahl purchased Summit at 107 N. Broadway St. in September after relocating to Nashville. After supporting his wife in opening a salon in Columbus, he decided he needed a project for himself.

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“I liked Summit’s numbers and its history of 60-plus years in the community,” he said. “And it was a nice opportunity for growth.”

But what he didn’t expect to end up with was a warehouse full of unclaimed clothes that customers had forgotten to pick up over the years.

“The previous owners hadn’t contacted any clients about their garments,” he said. “There were clothes hanging in there from 2007.”

With the help of staff and his family, Stahl started making calls, trying to locate the owners of the clothing.

Many customers responded and picked up their items, but Stahl said there is still plenty left. He estimated the total of unclaimed inventory to be worth $7,000 to $10,000.

Instead of keeping the clothing or trying to sell it, Stahl decided the best thing to do would be to donate it to local charities that work directly with people in need.

Customers can claim their garments until Monday. After that, Stahl plans to distribute the clothing to Anchor House, a homeless shelter for families, Jackson County Clothing Center, Turning Point Domestic Violence Services, local elementary schools and Section 8 (low-

income) housing apartment complexes in Seymour.

Stahl said he hopes to collect around $5,000 to $8,000 more in clothing, especially children’s items, from the community.

He said the response so far has been pretty good.

“We’ve had a lot of donations already just by advertising it on Facebook,” he said. “We will be updating our totals periodically, so people can follow the status of our goal.”

People can drop off donations at Summit from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday through Dec. 14. Stahl said he plans to deliver the clothing the following week.

Giving back to others has always been important to him and his family, Stahl said.

“We used to distribute blankets to the homeless in Indy through one of our businesses,” he said. “So, we thought, we would take the opportunity to fill a gap in many of the charity drives around the holidays.”

Stahl said there are plenty of toy and food drives this year, but operating a dry cleaning business, he’s in a better position to help with the need for clothing.

“Whether a person is needing a suit to try to get a job or a single mother is trying to start over, there’s always a different, unique need,” he said. “So it’s not just a coat drive. We are looking to fill as many needs as possible from infant to adult clothing.”

Stahl said often people donate clothing to businesses that sell the items in order to pay their employees and make a profit. The only people benefiting from this drive are those that receive the free clothing and those who feel good about donating, he said.

Stahl said he plans to make it an annual project and collect donations throughout the year.

“None of us get where we are without a little help in one way or another,” he said. “Seymour is a wonderful community, and it shows by all the donations already coming in.”

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What: Summit Cleaners clothing drive

Where: 107 N. Broadway St., Seymour

When: Through Dec. 13

How: Drop off clothing at the business or call 812-522-1862.

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“Whether a person is needing a suit to try to get a job or a single mother is trying to start over, there’s always a different, unique need. So it’s not just a coat drive. We are looking to fill as many needs as possible from infant to adult clothing.”

Jason Stahl, owner of Summit Cleaners, on the clothing drive he is conducting

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