Donate Clothing

Give the right stuff to the right places

We know you’re willing to give the shirt off your back to help a newcomer. But please make sure it's clean, undamaged and sent to the right place.

Refugees sponsored by the federal government or by private sponsors are given financial support to buy the basics for themselves. As a result, settlement agencies generally do not accept donations of clothing and sponsorship groups generally arrange donations within their own networks.

Refugee 613 also does not collect or distribute donated clothing. Instead, we encourage you to support the efforts of local agencies already serving refugees and other low-income populations, such as Matthew House Ottawa, Maison Marie-Louise and other services. They each have a system for accepting donations and ensuring people on limited incomes – including refugees — can get clothing at little or no cost.

    We strongly urge you to contact these organizations first, especially if you have a large quantity of items to donate, as many are currently working at capacity.

    Beware of fraudulent services promising to direct your clothing donations to refugees! Sadly, many collection boxes in the city are scams and clothing dropped off there ends up being sold for profit. Before you donate items, call the charity named on the bin to ensure it is legitimate.

    If none of these organizations are able to take your donation, please contact us at info@refugee613.ca and our team will be happy to help you find a solution!


    Will my clothing donations go to Syrian refugees?

    None of these organizations can guarantee your items will go to any specific refugee group, only that they will be made available to a refugee or other vulnerable person in our community. This shouldn’t prevent you from donating — many local shelters and charities experience periodic shortages of clothing donations. Your generosity will allow them to help so many who would otherwise do without.

    Are clothing donations the best way to help?

  • Matthew House Ottawa
  • Donating money is a more efficient and effective way to help refugees in Ottawa than donating clothing because it gives agencies the flexibility to meet urgent needs as they emerge. Clothing donations can be useful if the items are clean, gently used and given to an agency equipped to distribute them to people in need , but they are low on the priority list of needed items. Government-assisted refugees receive a clothing allowance on arrival in Canada. Private sponsorship groups have a budget for clothing as well, and often add to that by drawing on their own networks for donated items. Donated clothing would be more useful to a refugee claimant, someone who has asked for protection of the state on arrival here. A few shelters for refugee claimants are mentioned above.

    Why don't you welcome offers of donated clothes?

    Answering questions about clothing donations and trying to connect donors to refugees or sponsor groups is time-consuming and distracting for agencies whose mandate is to help newcomers find housing, language classes and employment. Settlement agencies don't have enough staff to answer such inquiries, nor do they have storage space to accept unsolicited items. This isn't a challenge unique to refugees or the settlement sector. This article explains in more detail why donating goods usually isn't the best way to help in a crisis.