Clothes and blankets are among the many items we can sell in our shops here to raise funds, but Oxfam does not send clothes and blankets overseas, however good their condition. This is because customs regulations, fumigation of second-hand items, transport and communications make the process of exporting second hand items very complicated, time-consuming and expensive.
It is much easier to buy these items (with the money our supporters donate) in the countries where they are needed. It reduces the cost to Oxfam, helps stimulate local markets and economies, and we can be sure that the goods that we source are appropriate - both for the local environment and the local culture.
There are many local initiatives in poor countries where women knit or make clothes, and Oxfam tries to support them by buying their products and distributing them through its programmes. This ensures women can learn new skills, earn an income and support their families, buy crops, send their children to school, and get the healthcare they need.
That's why making a cash donation is one of the most effective ways to support our emergency work.