Carry Me Home is a New England-based 501c3 non-profit organization that is run 100% by volunteers. Our warehouse and free shop is located in Brattleboro, Vermont.
CARRY ME HOME
WHERE HOPE STARTS TO HEAL
What We Do
Mission and Overview
Our primary mission is to support families and individuals fleeing zones of conflict.
To that end, we collect, sort, and donate weather-appropriate gently used children's and adult clothing, footwear and sleeping bags. We previously focused on shipping clothes to partners working at refugee camps, but now that our region is more able to welcome people who must flee their home countries, we are delighted to serve them right here with our Free Shop at Centre Congregational Church in Brattleboro, Vermont.
Working with Co-Sponsorship Groups
Refugee resettlement in Southern Vermont is carried out by the Ethiopian Community Development Council's local branch, the Multicultural Community Center. As much as possible -- limited by the availability of volunteer co-sponsors -- ECDC-MCC enters into a partnership model called co-sponsorship with self-formed community groups who commit to working with one family. People for whom there are not enough co-sponsors get official resettlement services only from ECDC-MCC. We at Carry Me Home help ECDC-MCC and the co-sponsorship groups meet their federally mandated requirement to provide basic seasonally appropriate clothes to people who are resettling when they first arrive, and we also run our Free Shop as an ongoing resource for new neighbors.
Information for Co-sponsors:
Please make sure your new neighbors know about us and what we offer.
Bring them to our free shop when they feel ready. They are also welcome to visit us unaccompanied.
Shop hours: click the link above. The schedule has been translated into Dari, French, Haitian Creole, Pashto, and Spanish. Please encourage new neighbors who have internet access to bookmark the page.
We may cancel if we are short staffed, so please call ahead (802-355-2256).
We are always glad to have more help with sorting, staffing the shop, and collecting needed items. Use the links at the top of this page to learn more.
Refugees and others who are not part of the ECDC Co-Sponsorship program:
Our services are meant for anyone fleeing conflict. Please reach out to us if we can help you or someone you advocate for. We are glad to help people, even if they are not refugees, and even if they are not in Southern Vermont.
So much sorting!
One garment at a time
We are a 100% volunteer run, funded and organized group. Sorting is our biggest ongoing, neverending task. Volunteers meet as needed to sort appropriate seasonal clothing by age/size and item. A well-organized system aids greatly in the ease of distribution for volunteers and refugees.
Volunteering with us
We welcome you to help us sort donations, organize the shop, and help customers during Free Shop hours!
We work at Centre Congregational Church in Brattleboro
All volunteers must be masked, COVID vaccinated if eligible, and complete a daily health screening form before volunteer sessions.
- Email us to join our volunteer mailing list. You'll get all needed information and a link to our schedule so you can sign up for a time.
- We also need help translating our shop signage. Please let us know if you have excellent Spanish, Dari, and/or Pashto and are able to help us (this can be done remotely via Google Docs).
Where did all those clothes go?
What we have done so far
We have sent shipments to Croatia, Slovenia, and Serbia; Chios, Polikastro, Idomeni, Lesvos, Samos, and Athens, Greece; and Calais, France. We closely coordinate with field volunteers on the ground who work tirelessly on assisting refugees ( a term we use loosely on this page to describe anyone fleeing conflict or an untenable situation in their home country, regardless of legal status). These partners advise us as to current needs, and supervise the distribution of our goods to the people who need them most. In our first four years of operation, we shipped over 12 tons (24,000 pounds or about 540 large shipping boxes) of presorted, packaged aid for refugees.
Our newer initiatives
Since 2019, in addition to continuing international shipments, we have donated clothes regularly to asylum seekers, and starting in 2021, to refugees and others seeking safety in the US. We are now working closely with CASP (Community Asylum Seekers Program), ECDC (Ethiopian Community Development Council), and community co-sponsorship groups in Southern Vermont to support the families they host and sponsor. We supplied "Arrival Kits" for the nearly 100 Afghans arriving in Southern Vermont in early 2022, and now welcome them and others in need to our Free Shop, where give out about 30 shopping bags of clothes per week.
Understanding our mission broadly
We donate clothing that doesn't meet (or exceeds) the needs of refugees, or is too heavy to ship affordably, to Brattleboro community members via the giveaway tables at Loaves and Fishes free lunches (in the same space as our warehouse), and occasionally by special request to Groundworks.
We have donated about 200 pounds of clothes not needed locally to partners who distribute them for free at Pine Ridge Lakota Reservation in South Dakota.
If donated items are not appropriate for any of the above, we give anything in good usable condition to our local thrift shop, Experienced Goods.
Prior to COVID, we hosted four annual Greek Supper fundraisers, in honor of the Greek people who have been the first to welcome so many people fleeing the Middle East by boat.
We look forward to another community supper some day!
House Blend shared their beautiful a cappella voices with us for a lovely coffeehouse concert in the parlor at Centre Church.
We co-sponsored film screenings about refugees and the places they travel from and through.
How to Give
Give your time:
Our biggest need right now in Winter 2022-2023 is for volunteers to help us sort our donations, and keep them organized as we welcome customers.
Give new or gently used clothing:
We maintain a list of most needed items, and where to drop them off, here:
Make a monetary donation:
We use your monetary donations to purchase:
Items our new neighbors need that we aren't able to get enough of by in-kind donations. For example, we have purchased winter boots in smaller men's sizes, new underwear, and long underwear for all ages. We have also donated cash directly to our partner ECDC to defray their costs of purchasing needed clothing and footwear that weren't available from us.
When we set up our free shop, we purchased some shelving units to complement the ones we were able to obtain by donation.
We ship clothes and footwear in excellent condition that are not needed locally to partners at the Pine Ridge Lakota Reservation and to partners in Europe serving refugees and migrants there. Your donations cover USPS costs and our packing supplies.
Please click the button below to make a donation via Paypal, or make a check out to Carry Me Home and mail it to:
Carry Me Home
c/o Centre Congregational Church
193 Main St, Brattleboro, VT 05301