When two homeless men died in Contra Costa County, California last month, Dr. Carol Weyland Conner, spiritual director of Sufism Reoriented, felt keenly the neglect of those most in need, and so took action. She provided funds to White Pony Express, which is a nonprofit organization, and specified that the donation was to be used exclusively to purchase new cold weather clothing for the homeless in her county. Then, she called on the community who responded with donations of cold weather clothing for men, women and children, to distribute to locals who could not afford to properly clothe themselves against the winter weather. “In recognizing our essential unity with all, we take the first step in eliminating poverty.” says Dr. Conner, whose goal is to uplift lives and give opportunity for selfless service.
France just passed a law requiring large grocery stores to give away unsold food. In Washington DC during the snowstorm last week, a hotline number blazed around Twitter; “Call this number if you see a homeless person outside so they can be picked up.” This is how one community is keeping the stoke going this winter, one coat at a time.
White Pony Express started as a food rescue program that redistributes surplus, fresh, nutritious food from food retailers to those in need for free. Later, she asked WPE to establish a Free General Store from which new and lightly used clothes, toys, and books could be distributed for free to the disadvantaged. In less than two and a half years. WPE has have distributed 2.8 million pounds of food, and 180,000 articles of clothing, toys, and books through its unique Mobile Boutiques. “To reach those most in need, WPE’s Mobile Boutique trucks thousands of items of clothing, toys, and books to a host site (e.g., faith groups, schools, and community centers) in an impoverished neighborhood. FGS creates a real store-like shopping experience presenting clothing that has been cleaned, sized, and hung on racks.” explains FGS co-chair Mary Brooks.
“Many friends in Contra Costa County can’t afford to feed or clothe themselves properly,” says Dr. Conner, “and nonprofit organizations and shelters here often don’t have enough resources to serve them. But we’ve found that many businesses would be pleased to donate their excess food and goods if someone could just pick it up and deliver it. That’s why we created the White Pony Express. It is the connecting link between those with surplus and those in need.” Join the effort to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
Please join the Surf Channel in donating warm clothing this winter. It’s easy to go through closets and find gently used coats, sweaters and hats and donate them to redistribution centers. Information on how to donate to the Free General Store below:
What you can do:
How to Donate Items
Send or bring your donation to our Workshop
3380 Vincent Road, Suite 101, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
Every Day: 3:00—5:00 p.m.
Monday 7:00—9:00 p.m.
Saturday 9:00 a.m.—12:00 p.m.
For larger donations, we will arrange a pick up:
1. Place the items in a container for transport (bag, box, etc.).
2. Call the Hotline 925-322-0604 and leave a message or email firstname.lastname@example.org detailing:
• Physical size of donation (bag, box, pallet, etc.
• When and where it can be picked up (please include any
details about the pickup location e.g., driveway, porch, loading dock, etc.)
• Who the contact person is, if one is needed, and how to best contact.
What kind of item: FGS welcomes new and lightly used items. FGS is not a thrift store, but an effort to uplift lives. Our standard for everything we distribute is, “Is it of a good enough quality that we would have it in our own home or give it to our children?”
3. Our dispatcher checks messages between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.
4. We will arrange a convenient time for pickup.
Thank you for putting your compassion in action. You are having a direct, immediate impact of the lives of the disadvantaged. The clothing not only protects our friends, it helps them see the possibilities of their lives in a different way. And because White Pony Express is 100% volunteer, with each $100 contributed, FGS can distribute 100 articles of clothing, toys, and books. Your kindness is thereby leveraged to serve even more people than one would expect.
The Surf Channel always welcomes information from our warm-hearted surfing community. We want to hear from you, please send us information about how your community is keeping the stoke going.