RICHMOND HILL, Queens (WABC) -- Local charities have been hit hard by the pandemic as small donations have dried up, but some merchandisers are stepping up with brand new apparel and other household items.
Somewhere between the palettes of onions and rice is Ralph Lauren apparel that's brand new and ready to wear.
"Just something to wear for work, these are things that are a necessity people that people often take for granted," Delivering Good's Ken Downing said.
Fashion guru Ken Downing who recently relaunched the American Dream Mall in East Rutherford was in Richmond Hill on Friday touring the River Fund.
The Queens-based charity that is fighting poverty is getting donations from Delivering Good which connects merchandisers to families in need.
"What a pair of socks can do for someone, something as simple as a bra or maybe coming back from the military you need a suit so you can get yourself a job interview," Downing said.
"We have over a thousand nonprofit organizations that provide direct service in communities all over the U.S.," President and CEO Lisa Gurwitch said.
That direct service was a lifeline to Josselyn Vasquez.
"We were going through a rough time, we did not have anything, we were not prepared for winter, I had a skirt on and it was snowing," Vasquez said.
Her family arrived from Guatemala with a single suitcase. She and her brother were fed and clothed by the River Fund founder Swami Durga Das.
"Swami just gave me clothes, a big thing of clothes, and gave clothes to my brother -- mainly they gave us stuff to survive and gave us help to move forward," Vasquez said.
Now the sister and brother volunteer every week to help others and will present an award at the Ziegfeld Ballroom gala next week to honor retailers like Ralph Lauren Corp. and Tanger Outlets -- not just for donating new, unused goods, but delivering dignity.
"It just made me feel good about myself to be very honest, just having a good, nice pair of shoes or pants or shirt I'm like OK I'm ready," Vasquez said.
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