Peace, Inc. donates top designer brand clothing to nursing home staff

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Syracuse, N.Y.— The Frank DeFrancisco Eastwood Community Center normally would be empty on a recent Friday afternoon — it would also be filled with fewer trash bags.

However, these trash bags weren’t stuffed with useless junk. The bags were lined-up against the wall with paper taped to them that read “Women Small” and “Women Medium”.

David Capria, a Rotary of Eastwood member, tore open one of the bags to pull out a black shirt made of cotton. He searched for a price tag to see if it was still attached.

“This one is probably around $200,” Capria said.

Covid-19 created a financial loss for retailers around the country. Clothes from last year by Ralph Lauren remained untouched. Instead of throwing them away, they donated them all to non-profit organizations.

Peace, Inc., a nonprofit organization that began in 1968, was one of the organizations that received 18,000 articles of clothing. They ranged from all sizes, children to adults, business to casual.

As a way of saying thank you for their work during the pandemic, Peace, Inc. has donated clothes to nursing home staff over the past two months.

Julie Sheedy, chief marketing and engagement officer for Loretto, met at the Frank DeFrancisco Eastwood Community Center recently with a moving truck. Clothes were going to staff at the nursing home’s main location on East Brighton Avenue.

Eight hundred female employees will enjoy clothes for the summer, which includes shirts, dresses and shoes from last year’s fashion.

“It’s been a long journey for us,” Sheedy said. “And they’re [staff] pretty stressed and a little bit burned out. So, this is amazing.”

Nursing home staff in Syracuse struggled with staggering numbers of deaths in their facilities during the pandemic. In January, it was reported by syracuse.com that 340 nursing home residents had died.

Sheedy said Loretto staff already feel stressed after having to be tested for Covid-19 twice a week.

“It’s a big commitment for them[staff] to make sure that they get tested,” Sheedy said. “I probably had my 60th test myself.”

Over the year, Peace, Inc. donated some of the clothes from Ralph Lauren to families during the winter, which included coats and boots. In addition, Peace, Inc. was able to give away clothes to Jordan-Elbridge High School students.

The organization still had clothes left over to give away to nursing homes and community centers like Loretto, Sunnyside Care Center and Syracuse Community Health Center. The total worth of the clothing donated came out to $3.75 million.

The Rotary of Eastwood had partnered with Peace, Inc. to help distribute the clothing out to nursing homes. Eastwood Rotary members met every Thursday for the past two months to help with sorting out clothes, removing price tags and loading up trucks for those coming in to pick up clothing.

Eastwood Rotary

Eastwood Rotary Executive Secretary Jonathan Yost and new member Ryan Lauber load up a hamper with bags of clothing onto a moving truck for Loretto

Capria, who is a former work administrator within a nursing home, already knew a lot of the nursing homes around Syracuse.

“He kind of opened up the door of opportunity for us to reach out to them [nursing homes] through the Rotary Club,” Rollin Mincher, project manager at Peace,Inc., said. “They’ve done a phenomenal job involved in this process.”

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