What is the H.O.P.E. Uniforms Program?
H.O.P.E. (Help Our Planet Earth) Uniforms Program is a socially responsible organization that aims to serve the community by accepting and reusing uniforms, thereby reducing contribution to the landfills.
What exactly do we do?
The H.O.P.E. Uniforms Program helps the community by recycling and reusing uniforms. If you outgrow your current uniform, come request for the next size up! Then, you could donate your outgrown clothing back into the community, creating an eco-friendly cycle!
Throughout my entire life, I attended public schools where uniforms were required. I am a strong believer that school uniforms offer many virtues including enhancing school pride, unity and community spirit while keeping students focused on their education, not their clothes. The schools I attended had a large and diversified student population. Latino and asian, rich and poor, I had friends from all walks of life. As we grew up together, one thing I noticed is that we all too quickly needed new uniforms. One winter, I remember asking one of my friends why he wore shorts when it was so cold outside and he answered that he did have enough pants to last him until he did laundry. On the other hand, my ankles were always peaking under the cuffs of my pants as I frequently outgrew my clothes. My parents would buy me new ones and I eventually realized that the uniforms I outgrew were still in great condition, they were destined for the landfills.
Every time I moved to the next size up, my parents needed to buy new uniforms to replace them, which added up overtime to a meaningful amount of money and textile waste. My schoolmates were also sometimes wearing uniforms that didn’t fit them properly or that they didn’t have the appropriate attire because they outgrew their existing ones. After further research, I learned from an environmental study that 22 million tons of textile waste is annually contributed to landfills and each single article of clothing takes 25-45 years to decompose while releasing greenhouse gasses like methane into the atmosphere. On top of this, the cities of San Mateo and Foster City have a diversified community across a broad spectrum of race and family economic status. For each child, the parent would at minimum need to spend ~$80 for school uniforms; 3 tops and 3 bottoms at $13 per article. As with any growing child, each child will grow out of his/her uniforms at least one size per school year. It is not uncommon for a student to go through 3 sizes or about $240 (3x$80) of uniform expenses per school year.
In 2019, I thought this was a burden that could potentially be mitigated for the families all across my community, marking the birth of the H.O.P.E. Uniforms Program...