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How to set up a community clothing closet

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Written by Linda Kinyon   


With winter fast approaching and the country in a recession/depression (depending on which news article you read), its time to think about  clothing. For most of us with children it means a trip to a local department store to purchase a new jacket or coat and depending on where we live perhaps snow pants, mittens or gloves, boots and hats. If you are amongst the working poor this can be even more of a challenge, but it doesn't have to be. Here is an idea that may help you as it has helped our family in the past. Many churches run a Community Clothing Closet. Here is how to help your church or a local Youth Center or other group get a great clothing closet started.

Step One: A facility: To begin a Community Clothing Closet you will require a place to run the Clothing Closet. This could be a room in a local church or community or youth center or some other area. You'll also need volunteers willing to assist the needy in clothing selection and also to help maintain and organize the closet. If your local high school has a community service requirement for graduation this may be a great place to seek volunteers. Step Two: Donations: Request donations from people closing yard or rummage sales. Don't forget to spread the word to everyone perhaps a small ad in the paper that The Community Clothing Closet is accepting gently used winter clothing for their clothing closet starting September. Church bulletins are also a great resource for spreading the word about a community clothing closet. Simply call the local churches and let them know what is going on. Most will be happy to at least make a mention of the clothing closet in their weekly bulletin. Step Three: Set your hours:

State the hours that the closet will be open and make sure you have volunteers to run it. The clothes should be free or perhaps you could request that the people assist at the clothing closet for a short time in order to receive clothing. You could also do trades in that someone brings in 3 items and takes 3 other items home.

Never turn away someone in need of clothing for any reason though. Don't let a child go cold because no one in the family is willing to volunteer an hour or so, or because the family has nothing to trade in.


Always be cheerful. You never know when you might be the one in need.

This can easily became a very large scale operation . Make sure to keep it under control if you do not want it to become so large scale.

There will always be an exception to the rule. Someone who doesn't really need the clothing vs someone who desperately needs it.

Never be judgmental of the people stopping by.

By providing this service you will of course meet many different people from many different walks of life. There will be those that you like and those that you barely tolerate but remember that no child should have to be cold this winter season.



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