Clothing Drive Benefits Shattuck Shelter

For Immediate Release
November 26, buy 2004

JP resident’s clothing drive benefits Shattuck Shelter

JAMAICA PLAIN, order MA–Gary Drinkwater was giving to the Jamaica Plain community before he even moved to this dynamic Boston neighborhood a year and a half ago. From his employment in other upscale menswear shops in the Boston area, pharmacy he has organized clothing drives for the Friends of the Shattuck Shelter for over eight years.  

Now, he operates clothing drives from his new store in Porter Square, Cambridge,that bears his name. Drinkwater’s, located at 2067 Massachusetts Ave., features “updated traditional” menswear, ranging in price from $40 to $1,000 and in appeal from college students to businessmen. “One advantage of owning my own store is that I don’t have to pitch the clothing drive to my boss anymore,” says Drinkwater, “I just do it.”

The Friends of the Shattuck Shelter in Jamaica Plain is one of Boston’s leading agencies advocating for and delivering services to people who are homeless. The Shelter provides over 10% of the city’s emergency beds, is one of three agencies that provide a majority of street outreach in Boston, and offers services to other agencies statewide. Drinkwater’s clothing drive helps the homeless in our community with a basic need.

Once in the spring and then again in the fall, Gary Drinkwater sends out a mailing to his customers letting them know that if they donate clothes, they will receive a 20% discount on a line of clothing called Bills Khakis.  His most recent drive on November 6, 2004, brought a representative from Shattuck Shelter, Bills Khakis and a ton of customers.

“It’s a wonderful day for everyone,” says Drinkwater. “I didn’t recognize my customers when they came in.  I could only see their eyes atop of all the clothes they were carrying in. There were a lot of laughs and good feelings all around.”  One customer, Richard Steinberg, noted that in addition to the discount, “giving back gives me a sense of well being. Besides,” he smiled, “it’s a ‘blue state’ thing to do.”

Asked how many clothes he received, Drinkwater reports, “I have a Volvo station wagon, and there was barely enough room for my wife and me in the front seat. The car was packed.”  “Gary is one of our favorite donors,” says Pauline Zywaski, of the Shattuck Shelter. “He has donated jackets for our golf tournaments, clothes to the shelter, and even pizza and food.”

“I think that you don’t know what homelessness is until you visit a shelter and talk to the guests,” explains Drinkwater when asked why he does this. “Homelessness isn’t something that happens to ‘other people.’ It happens because of life circumstances or a number of them at once. Mental illness, financial tragedy, addiction…it could happen to any one of us at any time. These people are worth all the help they receive.  And if it were us, we’d want the same.”

Drinkwater moved to JP with his wife Teresa Borges because he liked the diversity in the community. “Teresa has wanted to move here for the last eight years – we finally did, and we love it here.”  Teresa’s employer, communications company Sametz Blackstone, designed Drinkwaters marketing image. His friends and family have helped him design and set up his store. His customers make his dream of owning his own business a reality. “Success takes a community,” he added. “I’m happy to give back just some of what I’ve received.”

The Friends of the Shattuck Shelter welcomes donations or all kinds to support Shelter guests. For more information on making a contribution to the Friends of the Shattuck Shelter, please call 617-983-0351 or 617-971-3246.

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