Giving back has been part of our mission at SALT effect since the very start. SALT effect stands for Serving and Learning Together. Our annual Hoodie Drive benefits local youth through the wonderful nonprofit Star House. It also gives tweens, teens and families a simple and tangible way to help others and give back.
Order hoodies from our Amazon wish list by December 15, 2023! They’ll be shipped to us and we’ll deliver them to Star House over the holidays.
Hoodies will go to Star House, a drop-in center for youth experiencing homelessness in our hometown of Columbus, Ohio. They serve thousands of young people ages 14-24 every year, providing things like food, clothes and hygiene materials as well as connections for counseling, housing, transportation, addiction services, employment and more.
How to Donate Hoodies
- Buy hoodies from our Amazon wish list and have them sent directly to us anytime before Dec. 16. Note: we make no commission on these wish list purchases.
- Buy hoodies anywhere you like OR collect very gently used hoodies and arrange to drop them off to us on your schedule if you live in the greater Columbus area. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll set something up.
What Hoodies To Buy
- Any adult size will work (XS to XXXL)
- Any color EXCEPT red and blue (potential gang affiliation)
- Words and logos are ok as long as they are positive and don’t reference drugs/alcohol/violence/profanity
- Full zip, partial zip and no zip are all fine
A Great Way for Families to Give Back
We started this hoodie drive in 2020 and love that it has become an annual holiday tradition to support a local nonprofit focused on older kids. This supports our community, and it also gives families an easy and tangible way to serve.
Our families have a broad definition of serving. That comes from a firm belief that there is no one “right way” to give back. How we give back can depend on our time of life, our personality, our family dynamics, our income and so many other factors.
Our post with 117 ideas for volunteering with your family gives options to fit any circumstances.
It can help busy families to embrace this broader way of thinking about volunteering that we love (it’s the brain child of Kristie’s mom and aunt):
How to Get Your Teens Involved
If we’re being honest, we don’t want to do all the work. We’d rather give our teens (and yours!) the tools to spearhead their own mini hoodie drive.
Most of our teens need community service hours and this is a perfect opportunity to practice communication, problem-solving and leadership skills. Learning more about the young people that Star House serves and taking action to help builds empathy and a sense of purpose.
What Steps Should My Teen Follow?
We’re teachers, so we know a little guidance goes a long way. We want to give teens the freedom to make this project their own, but a few parameters always help.
1. Decide if they want to do the hoodie drive on their own or with a group. If they prefer a group, they should reach out members of the group and/or the person in charge as soon as possible. See suggestions in the next section.
2. Contact us so we can help out and cheer them on! Teens should email us at support@salteffect or message us on Instagram or Facebook (@salteffect).
3. Decide how to collect the hoodies and set a goal. How many hoodies do they want to collect? A specific and realistic goal is great motivation.
- Do they want people to donate very gently used hoodies or new ones or both?
- Do they want to have a specific drop-off time and/or location?
- Do they want to ask people to order from an Amazon wish list that delivers directly to us? (If this is the option they prefer, they should email us at email@example.com so we can set them up with their own unique link for the wish list.)
4. Choose a date, time and location if they’re collecting hoodies in person. Choose a deadline if they’re sharing a link and asking people to order.
5. Learn about how Star House helps homeless youth. Teens (and their group) should read the rest of this post for an overview of Star House’s work and then learn more from the Star House website and/or their social media.
6. Create social media posts, emails and/or fliers to publicize their hoodie drive. They should also educate others about how Star House provides for the needs of youth facing homelessness and gives them hope. Tag us (@salteffect) and Star House (@starhousecolumbus) so we can share about their efforts!
7. Take photos and videos to document the process. Tag us and Star House if they share those pictures on social media.
8. Write up a brief summary of the hoodie drive – what they learned, how they publicized, how many hoodies they collected, how many hours they spent, etc. – and email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can sign volunteer forms if those are required for their group or school.
What Groups Could Help my Teen With A Hoodie Drive?
If your teen is willing to take the initiative and do a hoodie drive, we think almost any group would encourage and help them out. Here are just a few ideas:
- Youth group
- Sports team
- Music group
- Student club or organization
- National Honor Society
- Student council
- Scout groups
- Church or place of worship
- Schools (guidance counselors, social workers)
- Places of employment
What If We Don’t Live in Central Ohio?
No problem! You can follow the 8 steps we outlined above with a few changes:
- Ask people to order hoodies from an Amazon wish list that delivers directly to us. We’ll take the hoodies to Star House. Email us at email@example.com so we can set them up with their own unique link for the wish list.
- Find a youth drop-in center or youth homeless shelter in your area. Contact them and share your idea about a hoodie drive. Ask if they have any special requirements or restrictions for donations. Then follow the 8 steps based on the information from your local shelter.
How Your Hoodies Make a Difference
We love supporting Star House as a nonprofit that specifically helps teens. As moms of tweens and teens, it’s hard to imagine kids the same age as ours without the security of a home.
We called them in 2020 and just asked “How can we help? What do you need?” And they said hoodies. All colors and sizes.
It’s a small but important way to meet a physical need and show love to these young people. And Star House has the warehouse space to store whatever we give and hand them out all year long.
Here is the description straight from the Star House website on what they do:
Star House is a social service agency that operates Central Ohio’s only drop-in center for youth, ages 14-24, who are experiencing homelessness.
At our drop-in center, youth are provided access to food, clothing, hygiene items, laundry facilities, showers and a safe place to be.
Beyond basic needs, our clinical team provides therapy and case management, and partner agencies provide on-site and community-based access to stabilizing resources, such as housing, transportation, health care, employment, education, addiction services, legal aid, government benefits, ID cards and more.
In addition, along with Finance Fund and the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA), Star House operates Carol Stewart Village (CSV)—a neighborhood for young adults, ages 18-24, with on-site programs and services
The Columbus Dispatch published this video a couple years ago about homeless youth in Central Ohio and the work Star House does to help.
How Star House Helps Youth
Star House estimates that more than 3,000 young people in Franklin County, ages 14-24, fall into homelessness each year.
Of the youth who accessed Star House for three months or more:
- 73% obtained housing
- 75% received therapy/care management
- 75% obtained employment
- 95% received medical care
- 98% received transportation assistance