Posted: 14 March 2014

Why I’m giving up new clothes for Lent

Have you used our BenevoLent app? It's a fun tool that allows you to calculate how giving up chocolate, clothes or anything during Lent can help our work supporting vulnerable young people.

Today, Ceri writes about what she is giving up during Lent.

Giving up new clothes for Lent

Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
  - Matthew 6:25

When I was growing up, new clothes generally weren’t a regular feature on the financial agenda in my house. Looking after three children on one salary meant my mum had to focus on making sure we had the essentials we needed for school and our childcare. Like many parents, even though Mum worked full time and had a good job, she often found herself short of money at the end of each month, meaning things like new school shoes and school trips were actually quite stressful. 

Fortunately, Mum’s money problems didn’t last forever and as we got older and became more independent, we were able to provide more for ourselves. This became the case even more so when I got my first job as a choreographer at the age of 16. For the first time, I had money that I could spend however I wanted and you can probably guess where most of it went: on clothes. 

I don’t buy expensive clothes, but I have to admit that I do buy rather a lot of them. When I was at uni one of my housemates often referred to my bedroom as 'the shop downstairs' because of the number of clothes that I had. Friends often threaten to come to my house with shopping baskets or suitcases to raid my wardrobe. My younger sister persistently refuses to buy clothes on the basis that I have more than enough for the both of us. You get the idea.

Although I’m generally good with money and give to numerous charities, I’m conscious that it’s easy for me to just give without having a real sense of what it actually feels like to live in poverty. Even when my Mum had her financial struggles, my sisters and I were still happy and always well looked after. I don’t pretend that not buying clothes for 40 days compares to the level of deprivation and difficulty that many families face, but I wanted to use this Lent season as an opportunity to reflect on and experience what it feels like to not be able to have some of the simple pleasures that we often take for granted.

Be BenevoLent

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By Ceri Alabi - Fundraising and events team

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