Each day in Birmingham, men, women and children living in poverty face real discrimination, because of their appearances, forcing them to bear an unjust burden of shame. On the simplest level, GBM aims to alleviate this burden by providing free, quality clothing to anyone in need, through our Clothes Closet. In addition to basic clothing, we attempt to provide all items a person needs to “get dressed”, including, but not limited to: business attire, school uniforms, shoes, jewelry, deodorant, shampoo, nail polish, hair dye, lotion, diapers, feminine hygiene products, belts, socks and undergarments.
On a deeper level, however, we hope our Clothes Closet provides much more than just clothing. Our hope is that new clothing may provide individuals with an increased sense of self-esteem, leading to increased self-confidence and self-worth – each vital steps toward overall well-being, improved quality of life and a renewed sense of self-determination, ultimately allowing individuals the opportunity to overcome the barriers associated with the stigma of poverty. No one is more conscious of your physical appearance than you are. When you look good, it can change the way you carry yourself and interact with other people.
Like all of GBM’s services, the Clothes Closet is available to a vast array of populations – homeless individuals, families in financial crisis, people with alcohol, drug and gambling addictions, the intellectually disabled and others of low social status. Each of these populations often experience discrimination because of their social status, their appearance or their lack of access to amenities and services. The effect of this discrimination can be detrimental to personal health and well-being, which often results in further financial hardship, and impacts negatively on the ability to cope.