"Wear It or Share It" Program History
While traveling to the continent of Africa in 1974, Lloyd and Kathryn Spradley were overcome with compassion for the people living in poverty. One of the things that seemed to make the biggest impression on them was the people's lack of adequate clothing. Upon returning home, they coordinated the collection and shipment of good, used clothing to the church in Blantyre, Malawi, Africa, to be distributed to needy Christians. Over the next several years, hundreds of boxes of clothing were collected, packed and shipped to Africa, and this project continued until it became cost prohibitive to do so.
During a trip to Mexico to visit Christians in the early 1980’s, the Spradleys again experienced the same compassion for the people living there. Again, they collected used clothing from Christians here in the United States. By coordinating with a member of a congregation in Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico, and in San Antonio, Texas, Christians here were able to send clothing which was distributed to Christians in need. In 2009 and again in 2011, through the “Wear It or Share It” over seven-hundred pounds of clothing were distributed to needy Christians in Mexico.
In 2001 a Spanish congregation was established in South Oklahoma City. Again, Kathryn and Lloyd observed that many of the new Christians did not have the clothing they needed, especially coats for winter in Oklahoma. CEC collected clothing that was shared with the ones in need. In turn, the members of that same congregation helped pack the clothes that were shipped to Honduras (mentioned below).
In 2002 Lloyd and Kathryn traveled to Central America and again observed a contrast between the lack of adequate clothing for people there and the abundance in the states. Upon returning home they began asking friends to share the clothing they no longer wear with Christians who were in need. It took a few years to establish a method of shipping and distributing clothing in Central America. But, with persistence, from 2011 to 2014 approximately two tons of clothing has been shipped to Tegucigalpa, Honduras, C.A. for distribution to needy Christians.
During our years of collecting and shipping clothes, CEC has had some clothing that could not be shipped to Mexico nor Honduras. This clothing was donated to Christian organizations that have been able to use them in their outreach.
Over the years when asking people to donate clothes, CEC would ask people to just clean out their closets and share with others what they were not wearing. Thus the slogan “Wear It or Share It” was coined, and the CEC board adopted the name for this program.