First Communion Clothing Bank

Here’s an idea a parishioner forwarded and is spearheading for a few years to see if it takes. I hear they have something similar at the local high school for prom dresses. We guys generally don’t have to fuss about one-time-only clothing. We rent tuxes and formal wear when we’re not regularly formal and such.

Two aims of this program:

  • – To provide an inventory of clean, quality First Communion attire, for temporary use by parish families
  • – To promote good stewardship by reusing single-use garments and provide access to special clothing without families having to spend lots of money

OTHER DETAILS:  The donated clothes will be stored in garment bags and plastic containers in one of the religious ed closets in the church’s large storage area.  A link to First Communion on the RE Website will list an inventory of what is available.  The rules for use will include trying on items, checking out ones to use and returning the items cleaned, as appropriate.  This program will be piloted for 3-4 years and then be evaluated to see if it is worth continuing.

Anyone ever do anything like this, or hear of it?


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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4 Responses to First Communion Clothing Bank

  1. smf says:

    May I suggest that for men it would be very practical to change away from the “rental” model of formal wear (semi-formal to be technical). It would be far better for men to buy a tux of reasonably good quality once and then for those planning formal events to let people wear the one they own. If you do some checking, you will find that for the price of two rentals at most, you could buy a tux from a place like Macy’s. If you buy a tux it can be fitted more exactly, the fabrics used for rentals are made for durability not comfort, and you can actually have the cuff buttons that are meant to be on the jacket sleeves which are not used at rental places.

    For anyone wonder, white tie is technically formal evening dress, black tie is semi-formal evening dress, and “morning dress” is the traditional dress for morning and daytime formal affairs (morning dress includes, if memory serves, of grey striped dress pants, black cutaway tail coat, white formal shirt, grey vest/waist coat, and long tie, and is derived from English upper class riding attire).

    I have noticed at some weddings lately the dress code for the wedding party is now no longer onetime use. At one recently the brides maids all wore black formal dresses of their choice, and the groomsmen all wore black suits of their choice. Everything worn was the sort of thing likely to worn again, and possibly already in the wardrobe.

    Most people can afford reasonably nice at least somewhat formal attire. The problem is we live in a time that makes it virtually a faux pas to wear something “dressy” at all but a handful of major life events. If these garments were more than onetime use it would be entirely reasonable to own these things.

    In any case, I am entirely in favor of re-using things that still have useful life left in them. No sense in buying some fancy first communion thing, wearing it once, putting it the closet for safe keeping, then throwing it out years later.

  2. Mollie says:

    GREAT idea. There was an informal swap culture like this in my neighborhood when I was growing up — scouting uniforms, parochial school uniforms, and especially the white dresses Catholic-school girls had to wear at graduation. Older cousins and friends-of-the-family handed down all that to me, and I know I passed stuff on when I was done with it. (Not so much with prom dresses: styles change too fast, and hand-me-downs are a little more stigmatized in that context in any case.) I think parishes are smart to encourage and facilitate this. I wish it worked for wedding dresses!

  3. Robert Baatjies says:

    Goodday to you all

    The name is Robert Baatjies Living in South Africa my 4(four Male) Kids 7yrs-9yrs-11yrs-15yrs due to the mother got a heavy drinking drug problem and is going for re-abe the kids is now in my care. Please I begg if you cannot help or support me with clothing /shoes for these children I dont want any money. My Cell +27729335843 my adress 154 Neil Hare Road Atlantis Indurial Atlantis South Africa 7349


    • Annie says:

      Robert, There are clothing banks in SA too. Go to and contact them. or just google clothing bank South Africa and see what come up

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