You never know what you’ll find on a supply run in post-apocalyptic America. Maybe some dishware, knick-knacks, maybe some food if you’re lucky.
In the case of Warwick native Nathan Quattrini, what he found was over 1,000 pounds of nearly new clothing that he is now looking to donate to those in need.
Okay, so it wasn’t really a legitimate post-apocalyptic hellscape that Quattrini salvaged the clothes from, but the abandoned flea market in Worcester, Mass. perfectly fit the bill for an independent short film he was working on with friends that took place in such a world.
While filming in the location with permission from the building owner, Quattrini noticed boxes of clothing that were simply left when the owner of the flea market skipped town. Not only did the eerily undisturbed, cluttered and dusty items make for a perfect setting for his movie, the items provided another opportunity as well.
“This is the start,” Quattrini, a graduating member of the Warwick Vets Class of 1997 and a current resident of Tidewater Drive. “I've been wanting to get more onto a spiritual path and giving back to the community and getting more into things like that. I have a tendency to go all or nothing or dive all in.”
After gaining permission from the building general manager he and the crew got to work. Once Quattrini uncovered a few boxes of clothes, he kept finding more, and more, and even more. All tallied, the film crew gathered up 47 large trash bags of clothing that weighed in at a precise 1,103.3 pounds. That’s only the clothes deemed salvageable, as they disposed of stained or tattered items. Thirteen of those bags consist of winter coats, a highly sought item at this time of year.
Now the next step is to get the clothes cleaned and ready for donation. Quattrini found a cleaner in Worcester willing to offer a discount on cleaning services, including offering to pick up the large load free of charge, but the high volume will still demand a pretty penny to accomplish. A GoFundMe campaign has raised $765 of its $1,500 goal for the cleaning costs.
Once the clothes are cleaned and sorted by type and age range, the next step is to find establishments that need clothing donated. However, Quattrini doesn’t simply want to unload the clothes to a place where they won’t go to those who need them most.
“The one thing I find, personally, to be very important is that it gets donated directly,” he said. “Other places accept donations and sell it back to people. I'm trying to find direct-donation places.”
Quattrini is planning on donated some of the clothes to the McAuley House in Providence, and has some more earmarked for a church that does a community clothing drive, but is looking for suggestions of other worthy places that deal directly to people who need a hand.
“Those are the people I feel it would be most beneficial for,” he said.