Janice Roberts attaches a denim pocket to a display wall at Woodgrove Centre on Aug. 16. The display wall is part of the United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island’s United by Denim charity campaign, which encourages people to drop off gently used or new denim clothing at Woodgrove Centre. The campaign runs from Aug. 17-Sept. 2. (Nicholas Pescod/NEWS BULLETIN)

United Way’s denim drive launches at Nanaimo’s Woodgrove Centre

United by Denim campaign runs from Aug. 17 until Sept. 2

Denim will be a dominant fashion trend at a Nanaimo mall for the next two weeks and it’s all for a good cause.

United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island and Woodgrove Centre have launched United by Denim, a charitable campaign that aims to provide denim clothing to disadvantaged children.

Between Aug. 17-Sept. 2, people can donate new or gently used denim clothing at the denim drop zone, a colourful display complete with beanbag chairs, at the mall’s centre court. People can also decorate denim pockets which will be placed on a wall at the drop zone.

The first 500 people 12 years old and up who donate at least two items to United by Denim will receive a $10 Woodgrove Centre gift card. Visitors to the mall also have the opportunity to enter for a chance to win a $1,000 back-to-school shopping spree.

It’s the first year United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island has tried a campaign for denim clothing.

RELATED: Denim donation event will help families with back-to-school

On Friday, Aug. 16, UWCNVI and Woodgrove Centre held a media event where they showed off the denim drop zone.

Signy Madden, executive director of United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island told the News Bulletin with many families in Nanaimo struggling to make ends meet, back-to-school shopping is often difficult.

“Back-to-school is a bit of stressful time for a lot of families because we have one of the higher child poverty rates in the province,” she said. “Do you buy school supplies or clothes? That’s a choice some families have to make.”

Madden said donated denim clothing will be distributed to United Way’s various partner organizations, which are tasked with providing them to families in need. She said there are many families that have multiple kids and not enough money to buy new clothing for all of them.

“For many of the families we support, they might have two or three kids and it is, ‘oh, who gets the new outfit this year?’ That’s the kind of story we hear a lot…” she said. “Sometimes the kids will feel ashamed because they will go to school and not have what everybody else has.”

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Mark Fenwick, general manager of Woodgrove Centre, said the mall is thrilled to be partnering with United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island. He said the denim drop zone is designed to be fun and eye-catching.

“We wanted to bring something that was going to be engaging for our customers. It’s very inclusive and exciting and it is on-brand with fashion,” he said. “People love denim, it has been around for decades.”

Fenwick said the public can donate any clothing as long as it’s denim.

“Preferably denim jeans, but anything denim is accepted,” he said. “Jean skirts, jean jackets, anything denim.”

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