‘Clothe the naked’ seems like a pretty straightforward instruction. We should give clothes to someone who doesn’t have any. Most of us are quite happy to clear out our cupboards and donate a pile of old and unwanted clothes and shoes to someone who needs them.
But God wants us to look into the eyes of the poor and recognise them as individual people. In order to make our gift more meaningful, we need to understand what it must be like to walk around dressed in rags. It’s not only about feeling cold and miserable in winter, it’s about feeling less of a person.
Even if we try not to, we do judge others by the way they look. Someone dressed in old, worn out or ill fitting clothes may find it more difficult to get a job, or be viewed with suspicion. Clothing the naked is not just about being practical. It’s about showing another human being respect, and allowing poor people a little dignity.
The SSVP runs clothing stores within the parish and at secure remote facilities for free issue directly to those in need. We also take suitable clothing for families and individuals during home visits.
You can help by donating good second hand or new clothing to your local St Vincent de Paul Society. Or you could say, “No” to a new item of clothing or pair of shoes that you don’t really need – and donate what you would have spent towards our efforts to clothe the poor.
Clothing the naked applies to tiny tots too! Baby nappies, blankets and babygrows are always needed by desperate new moms.