At UNIQLO’s flagship store in SoHo, sleek and sophisticated décor frames the floor-to-ceiling rows of meticulously color-coordinated clothing. Recognized for these stylistic elements around the world, UNIQLO, over the last several years, has also become known for another quality: its commitment to giving back.
On Wednesday, June 26, the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) partnered with the retailer to participate in its first-ever U.S. clothing drive distribution event. As part of the company’s All Project Recycling Initiative, the effort provided 1,200 gently worn and dry-cleaned items to DHS clients in need. Working with DHS, UNIQLO employees generously volunteered to deliver and hand-out the clothing to the more than 80 families that are currently residing at a shelter in the Bronx. The undertaking was coordinated by DHS’ Office of Communications & External Affairs and spearheaded by Director of Special Events, Antonio Rodriguez.
“The large donation and volunteer effort from UNIQLO is a great example of how corporate, civic and non-profit organizations can work together to make an impact on the lives of families in need,” Rodriguez said of the endeavor.
Launched in 2006, UNIQLO’s All-Product Recycling Initiative is a global program that aims to collect gently used UNIQLO clothing, operating under the tag line of “Bringing truly great clothing to people in need the world over.” Once items have been donated back to the stores by customers, they are then carefully sorted and distributed to needy communities across the globe.
UNIQLO prides itself on being personally involved with each donation− having face-to-face, one-on-one interaction with the adults and children benefitting from the goods.
“Our employees’ personal involvement in our community relations initiatives is key to our success and our goals of helping to change the world through the power of clothing,” said Jean-Emmanuel Shein, UNIQLO USA’s Director of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSP) Initiatives.
To date, UNIQLO has delivered clothing to refugees, evacuees, victims of disaster, expectant and nursing mothers, and others who are in dire need of the items. With the lofty goal of providing clothing to every individual in need worldwide, the project serves humanitarian purposes while also promoting the importance of recycling and eco-friendly practices.
Over the course of the next year, UNIQLO has pledged to distribute tens of thousands of clothing items to shelters throughout the five boroughs, working in conjunction with DHS. Because of the extremely efficient manner that company volunteers had sorted and bundled the clothing (organizing the items by sex, size and then packaging them in shopping bags), the event proved to be a positive experience for staff and volunteers alike, while also enabling DHS clients to receive the donations in a dignified manner. DHS hopes to further replicate this formula at future distribution events across the City. DHS is proud to work with all of its outstanding community partners, and is thrilled to embark on this new ongoing collaboration with UNIQLO.
For more information about UNIQLO’s All-Product Recycling Initiative, please visit http://www.uniqlo.com/en/csr/recycle/.