The Washington Post

Clothing left at airport security checkpoints to go to veterans

Recently, 180 pounds of clothes were boxed up and given to the Vietnam Veterans of America. The provider? Maybe you.

Under the Clothe a Homeless Hero Act, the Transportation Security Administration has begun donating clothing forgotten at airport security checkpoints to local veterans’ organizations and charities.

On Thursday, Reagan National Airport joined other airports in the nationwide effort, packing two months’ worth of discarded clothing into trucks headed to VVA distribution centers. Before the act was signed into law, forgotten clothing was either donated for police-dog scent training or discarded.

“Now we’re going to be segregating clothing at our lost-and-found office,” said Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority spokesman Rob Yingling. “If it’s coming from the checkpoint, it’s going to the veterans. If it’s lost elsewhere in the airport, it’ll go to the canines.”

At National Airport, clothes are forgotten at a rate of “hundreds of pounds a year,” Yingling said. Everything from discarded outerwear to full suitcases is left behind. Each airport has its own lost-and-found system. Depending on the state, unclaimed items that are not clothing often are picked up by government-
surplus agencies and liquidated on Web sites such as GovDeals.com, said TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein. Now, airports will donate clothing to local veterans’ organizations in accordance with their lost-and-found policies.

The Clothe a Homeless Hero Act was introduced last summer by Rep. Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.), who said the legislation was doubly inspired by veterans she met in Afghanistan and a room full of discarded clothing at the airport in Buffalo, where she hunted down a scarf she had forgotten in a security bin a week before.

The bill was approved by Congress in late 2012, and President Obama signed it in January, days before he began his second term.

In March, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), one of two female combat veterans in Congress, introduced legislation to ease airport screening procedures for soldiers and veterans who are wounded or disabled.

Sharon Hodge, VVA’s associate director of government affairs, noted that national airports already expedite screening for vets. Gabbard’s effort “would mandate that every airport complies.”

Supporting veterans in every way possible is a priority for Hodge. Working on the first clothing collection for veterans Thursday was emotional, she said.

Hodge added: “It’s the first time I’ve seen congressional law benefit the individuals it was intended for.”

Ruth Tam is a writer based in Washington, D.C., where she web produces for The Kojo Nnamdi Show.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Comments
Show Comments
The New Hampshire primary is Tuesday. Get caught up on the race.
New Hampshire primary: What to expect
New Hampshire will hold a traditional primary just eight days after the Iowa caucuses. Polling in the Granite state has historically been volatile in the final weeks before the primary. After the Iowa caucuses, many New Hampshire voters cement their opinions.
The Post's Ed O'Keefe says ...
Something has clicked for Bush in New Hampshire in the past few days. What has transpired by no means guarantees him a top-tier finish in Tuesday’s Republican primary here, but the crowds turning out to see him are bigger, his delivery on the stump is crisper and some of his key rivals have stumbled. At the least, the developments have mostly silenced talk of a hasty exit and skittish donors.
The feminist appeal may not be working for Clinton
In New Hampshire, Sen. Bernie Sanders is beating Clinton among women by eight percentage points, according to a new CNN-WMUR survey. This represents a big shift from the results last week in the Iowa caucuses, where Clinton won women by 11 points.
New Hampshire polling averages
Donald Trump holds a commanding lead in the next state to vote, but Marco Rubio has recently seen a jump in his support, according to polls.
New Hampshire polling averages
A victory in New Hampshire revitalized Hillary Clinton's demoralized campaign in 2008. But this time, she's trailing Bernie Sanders, from neighboring Vermont. She left the state Sunday to go to Flint, Mich., where a cost-saving decision led to poisonous levels of lead in the water of the poor, heavily black, rust-belt city. 
55% 40%
Upcoming debates
Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

Campaign 2016
State of the race

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.