November 16, 2006

Community Clothes Closet Thriving

Since moving to the St. Paul Lutheran Church’s old education building in August, the Community Clothes Closet has been a buzz of activity. The organizers, Trinity Davis and Ilene Howell are pleased with the progress that has been made. Currently, volunteers staff the Closet every Monday from 8:00 am to 5:00 p.m. Due to the high volume of clothing donations, Howell and Davis have even added opportunities for volunteers to sort and organize all of the new clothes each week. Each week there are four to six volunteers donating their time.

Volunteers have been excited by the families they are serving. Young mothers with children and families who have moved in from other climates with no winter clothing have benefited greatly from the Closet. Many others have been helped, and the volunteers look forward to serving everyone needing clothes in Scotland County and the surrounding area. Organizers remind the community all clothing is free.

Because of the new move and the increased utilization of the Closet, the public has become more aware of its services. This has brought an increase in donations. However, the organizers are concerned about several misconceptions and logistical issues that have developed.

Davis commented, “We have been very surprised by the number of donations we are receiving.” However, many donators have left their donations at times when the Closet is not open for business. This becomes a problem as the weather or animals can wreak havoc on the clothes left outside. Cleaning up the mess uses much of the volunteers’ time. The organizers are asking the community to only make donations during business hours on Mondays.

Another misconception is that the Community Clothes Closet needs donated items other than clothes.

“Our mission is to provide only life essential clothing to anyone,” stated Davis, “We are not accepting donations of other household items at this time.”

Items accepted for donations include shirts, pants, coats, and shoes. There is always a need for any children’s clothing, light and heavy coats, women’s plus size clothing, T-shirts, and men’s casual clothing. The Clothes Closet currently has a surplus of junior’s clothing, women’s pants, women’s sweaters, women’s dress clothes, and shoes. She stated, “It’s not that we don’t need these types of clothes. We just receive a lot of these donations, and they don’t seem to move out as quickly.”

The following are a few other tips the organizers would like to give future donators.

Please do not donate unmatched shoes, damaged, or soiled clothing. Please donate seasonal clothing at the appropriate time. Please do not donate items with missing or non-functional buttons, snaps, clasps, or zippers. Unfortunately, these items do not get selected by the patrons, and the clothing ultimately is thrown away.

Davis and Howell note that many of the donations they receive are very nice, functional clothing. They also have a variety of sizes and styles. They would like the community to know the services provided are available to everyone regardless of income or need.

The Scotland County Ministerial Alliance oversees the operation of the Clothes Closet and the Food Pantry. These services are both offered in the previous St. Paul Lutheran Church buildings on Hwy 15 North in Memphis. The organizers would like to thank all of the faithful volunteers for their time and commitment to the Closet. If anyone else would like to volunteer for this worthy cause, please contact Ilene Howell at 660-479-5470.

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