Donate pre-loved clothing to help a UP student

Posted on April 12, 2024

The University of Pretoria (UP) community may make donations from 15 April for the next Thrift Store Day, which is set to take place on the piazza on Hatfield campus on Thursday, 9 May.

Thrift shop activations are hosted by FLY@UP (which stands for “the Finish Line is Yours”), and began in 2022. Since then, FLY@UP has hosted four successful Thrift Store Days, where students can shop for free.

Thrift Store Day is held to offer holistic support to UP students so that they can “cross their finish line” and graduate on time. Academic support goes beyond tutors and studying tips, and can come in the form of a jersey for a student who cannot afford one, and who has to write an exam during winter without the warmth of appropriate clothing.

“We aim to host one thrift shop activation per semester, so two a year,” says Tayla Jonker, coordinator of FLY@UP.

All the activations have been well received by students.

“Between 450 and 600 students usually come to the store, and walk away with five to eight items of clothing each,” Jonker says. “Our thrift shops have been so popular that all of them have had to close sooner than planned due to us running out of stock.”  

The last activation, in August 2023, saw more than 3 500 items of free clothing being given out to students. 

The FLY@UP initiative highlights the wealth of support that is available to UP students through a fun event.

“We are all in this journey together towards the finish line,” Jonker says.


The initiative is a two-part drive. The first part involves donations. From 15 April until 8 May, FLY@UP clothing donation boxes will be placed on Hatfield campus around the turnstiles and high-traffic buildings.

“We are calling on our students and staff members to donate any of their pre-loved, ready-to-wear and clean clothing for us to collect and place in our store,” Jonker says.

The second part of the drive is the pop-up thrift store on the piazza, which will be open from 10am to 2pm on 9 May.

“On the day, students will line up and await their turn to enter the store,” Jonker explains. “Only 25 students will be allowed in at a time, and they will be given eight minutes to shop for five to eight items of clothing each. The number of items each student gets depends on how many donations are made. The students get a shopping bag to place their clothes in, complete a short feedback survey and receive flyers that outline the support services available at UP.”

This year’s target is bigger and better than the previous thrift shop drive.

“The more clothes we get, the bigger our store can be, and the more we can give back to our students and support them,” Jonker says.

With winter around the corner, FLY@UP aims to collect warm clothing items to ensure that students are able to focus on their exams. Additionally, FLY@UP is expanding its donation drive to include non-perishable food items that can be placed in the donation boxes as well. This will be provided to UP’s Student Nutrition and Progress Programme, which assists students from underprivileged backgrounds with a basic food allowance.

“Any donations will be gladly accepted and put to use for our students,” Jonker says. “Keep an eye out for our donation boxes; look through your wardrobe; and donate to help a student in need.”

- Author Mmaradikesa Prudance Minyuku

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