Caring for Our Planet, One Clothing Drive at a Time

By Catherine Park
(This text originally appeared in the Bergen County Academies school newspaper.)


During the week of April 22, a group of BCA [Bergen County Academies] students organized one of the most successful drives for charity in the school's history. In commemoration of Earth Day, the Investment Analysis Group (IAG) and DurgaTree International Club at BCA put together a clothing drive in collaboration with the organization Planet Aid, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that works to collect items for resale and recycling. Over 430 items of clothing were collected in such a short time period at BCA.

This impressive feat highlights an important topic of conversation in the world today: environmental awareness. The clothes contributed by the BCA community during the clothing drive have been donated to Planet Aid, which then "collects and recycles [the donated clothes] to protect the environment and support sustainable development in impoverished communities around the world." The organization's bright yellow bins are a common sight in Bergen County, and all over the United States.

Plant Aid representative and territory manager Joel Podelsky shared some of his thoughts on the important of environmental awareness and the importance of Planet Aid's mission. He explained that, despite the challenges of working at a nonprofit organization, where the lack of manpower can often mean more work for each employee, the charitable work Planet Aid does is immensely rewarding. "Every day we wake up in the United States, we don't really appreciate how good we have it," he said. "And when we look at people in less fortunate countries, our mission statement is to give those people an opportunity to wake up in the morning and do what makes them happy."

Evidently, Mr. Podelsky's sentiments were shared by the BCA students who organized the clothing drive. IAG president and ABF junior Zhaoyuan Jiang explained, "I think we've reached a crucial point in the course of human history in which the consequences of growth and developing has taken an irreversible toll on our surroundings. Investing in minimizing the current harms is a worthy investment and one IAG felt needed to make."

"The entire marketing plan IAG implemented was based around a sense of community values and school spirit. The BCA community just needed a slight push forward to gain momentum in engaging in an activity like this, which has the potential to have a positive impact on so many people around the world," Zhaoyuan emphasized.

Organizations like Planet Aid are able to take on both protecting the environment and providing for those in need. Through organized activities like BCA's most recent clothing drive, students have the opportunity to make a difference in their community, and to learn to protect and take care of the planet that this generation will inherit.