At clothes bank for poor in Bengaluru, each piece costs Re 1 | Bengaluru News – Times of India


BENGALURU: Four college buddies have launched a clothes bank in Bengaluru, where the poor and needy can drop in and pick up any piece of clothing they fancy for a token sum of Re 1 per piece.
Called Imagine Clothes Bank, the goodwill initiative, on the lines of community refrigerators to feed the hungry, was unveiled on September 12 this year at a tiny two-bedroom apartment in Lava Kusha Layout in Beratena Agrahara, Electronics City. For now, it is open only on Sundays.
Bengaluru’s boutique for the poor, aimed at ensuring the underprivileged are accorded dignity and respect besides the right to choose, is the brainchild of Vinod Prem Lobo, Melisha Noronha, Nitin Kumar and Vignesh, who have been extensively involved in social activities for some years now.
“It all goes back to our college days of 2002 at St Aloysius, Mangaluru, when we classmates floated a clothes bank on the city’s streets for the poor,” said Lobo, now a communication professional with an IT company. “The clothes were collected through contributions made by students from schools in the city. The free distribution went on successfully for a while until we all finished our studies and left to pursue our careers.”
After settling on their careers, the friends again came together in Bengaluru to resume what they had left behind in Mangaluru. The result was Imagine Trust, a charitable organisation aimed at upliftment of economically weaker sections.
In early 2021, especially after the Covid-19 crisis and lockdowns left thousands of dailywage labourers and migrant workers unemployed, they decided on opening a clothes bank for the poor in Karnataka’s capital city.
“We began collecting old clothes through friends and acquaintances and we also spread word among resident welfare associations in large apartment complexes in Bengaluru,” said Lobo. “The response we received has been good,” Lobo said. Meanwhile, they also scouted for a place to set up their boutique and finally zeroed in on a two-bedroom flat in Electronics City.
All kinds of clothes including shirts, pants, skirts, saris, jackets and even blankets and curtains – some of it new and the rest as good as new – are neatly displayed on par with any store. Two staff members ensure the pieces are segregated according to age, size and type. The “sales” money is used to fund educational or medical needs of families in need.
Bigger plans
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On the first day when doors were thrown open, several underprivileged families including women and children walked in and picked up clothes that suited their needs. The team says they cater to a staggering 150 families every week.
Having received an overwhelming response from patrons for seven straight Sundays, the buddies now plan to open a toy bank for underprivileged children this Children’s Day (November 14).





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Sagar Biswas

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