Jenne Richardson is packing clothing, and compassion.

“This is a migrant mother who is probably spending all of her time and all of her effort on someone else,” Richardson said. “And so I get to pour into her and I feel responsible for that.”

What You Need To Know

  • Jenne Richardson is a co-founder of Well Cloth'd, an organization that connects second-hand clothes and garments designers no longer need with the people who need it most

  • Richardson estimates the Well Cloth'd has saved 15,000 pounds of fabric from landfills

  • This summer, Well Cloth'd and L+M Development Partners will teach people to sew using the garments not ready for second-use

Richardson and her childhood friend, Savahleetah McGee, started their nonprofit organization, Well Cloth’d, in 2017. They were spring cleaning when they realized that their perfectly good clothes could have a second life with someone who really needed them.

“Seeing the amount of stuff that they were cleaning out in just their two-bedroom apartment was just mind blowing,” Richardson said. “And, like, it has to go somewhere.”

The pair asked their friends to go through their own closet for donations, too. They held a pop-up boutique for people in need to shop for new clothing.

“They walked in and realized it was about them and how they just bloomed basically, like they felt appreciated,” she said.

Well Cloth’d now holds shop events four times a year. They also fill individual requests, all specially curated to fit a client's needs and preferences. Clients connect with Well Cloth’d through nonprofits, schools and community group and online.

“Clothes speak to who you are on the inside, on the outside, right?” Richardson said. “So how do you portray confidence when you’re just wearing something that someone didn’t think of you for?”

In giving these garments new homes, Richardson said they’ve saved close to 15,000 pounds of textiles from going into landfills. And this summer, they’ll teach people to sew using the donations that aren’t quite fit for new owners.

“Learning a new skill, challenging kids to learn something, doing something that’s interesting for them is one side, of course,” Richardson said. “But then the other side of it is thinking about, again, the lifecycle of textiles.”

That cycle starts again as her friends and neighbors give back.

“If the community shows up for us and the community gives us their things, it’s important that it gets back into the hands of those who need it as quickly as possible,” she said.

For dressing those in need in love, Jenne Richardson is our New Yorker of the Week.