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How do I donate winter coats and other needed items to the VUMC Clothes Closet?

Volunteers need help to be sure that all patients have warm, clean clothes to wear.

by December 11, 2017

There is no predicting who may benefit next from the Vanderbilt Clothes Closet, says Peggy Buchanan, a guest service representative for Hospital Guest Services who oversees the project.

Some people are indigent patients who simply need clean clothes when they are discharged. “We want to make sure they have layers to stay warm this time of year,” she says.

Some are trauma patients or burn patients — often people who left their homes on a routine errand and ended up in the hospital for days and in need of something to wear.

Some are more unusual cases. “I had a man one day who sat on his daughter’s ice cream cone and needed clean pants — he wasn’t even a patient, he was a visitor,” she says.

No matter the cause, the Clothes Closet is there to provide clothes and footwear to people who need them. And no matter the recipient, they are unfailingly appreciative.

No matter the cause, the Clothes Closet, on the first floor of Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital, is there to provide clothes and footwear to people who need them.

And no matter the recipient, Buchanan says they are unfailingly appreciative. As an example, she recalls one out-of-state college student who got caught in a stampede at a rock concert one cold night, and was brought to the hospital for treatment.

“His clothes were totally ruined and he lost his shoes as well,” she remembers.

“The Clothes Closet outfitted him from head to toe. He was so relieved and grateful, since he had a parent driving here from out-of-state to take him home.”

The project is staffed by four Guest Service representatives: Regina Frans, Leslie Halfacre, Mary Richardson and Buchanan. They stock and maintain the closet on their own time after their shifts. All clothes and footwear are donated, and a regular donor provides new socks and undergarments for men and women. There is a separate closet for children’s clothes at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

Buchanan says that people needing clothes want casual clothing to wear around the hospital, rather than more dressy items. “We sometimes will be offered stiletto healed shoes — nobody wants to wear stilettos in a hospital,” she says.

A list of the items needed by the Clothes Closet is below. The items should be clean and in good condition.

  • Men’s and Women’s T-shirts. All sizes S, M, L, XL, XXL, 3X, 4X & 5X.
  • Men’s and Women’s shorts, leggings, warm ups, sweats, slacks and jeans. All sizes.
  • Men’s and Women’s flip-flops, sandals (flat only), slippers, athletic shoes, casual, and dress shoes (flat only, no high heels). All sizes.
  • Men’s and Women’s coats and heavy jackets. All sizes.

Items that need washing, repairing, ironing or dry cleaning are not helpful.

There is a special need for coats and men’s shoes, Buchanan said.

Items may be dropped off at the information desks at Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital or Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt seven days a week between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Items may also be sent to:

VUMC Guest Services
1211 Medical Center Drive, Suite B-361
Nashville, TN 37232

Those wanting documentation for tax purposes may include a name and address so that a year-end thank-you letter may be sent from Volunteer Services.

Employees wishing to access clothes on behalf of patients may contact Case Management or Guest Services at 615-322-1000.

For more information about the Clothes Closet, contact Buchanan at peggy.buchanan@Vanderbilt.Edu.

(Photo credit: iStock)

Volunteers, Clothes Closet, Peggy Buchanan, Guest Services, Donations wanted