Community wardrobe: it takes a whole village

WALKERTON — The basement of St. Paul’s United Church in Walkerton looks more like a clothing store on the first Thursday morning of every month.

The community clothes closet is open to anyone who might need summer tops, a few pairs of pants to wear for a new job, or an outfit or two for kids who seem to be losing their clothes overnight. . There are men’s and women’s clothing, children’s items and baby clothing.

Coordinator Deb Sutherland explained that the initiative started in December, to help people who had lost their jobs due to COVID. Then came another COVID lockdown and the doors remained closed until March. Now everything is back and the “buyers” are delighted.

Most of the “lightly worn” clothing was donated by members of the congregation, and they were generous. Sutherland said the Community Clothes Closet is temporarily not accepting spring and summer clothing donations.

She noted that the term “used gently” is a bit of an overstatement — some clothes still have tags.

The clothes are freely available to “buyers”.

Sutherland said, “They can take clothes home to try on, and they are welcome to bring back what they don’t need – or give it to someone who can use it.”

She noted that some people who come just like to browse.

“We are here to serve the community,” Sutherland said. “We welcome everyone.”

The initiative aligns very well with St. Paul’s vision – “You are not alone”.

Sutherland said: “We support people as best we can. We have a large core of volunteers; some belong to the church and some are friends of the church.

For her and the group of busy volunteers, the purpose of the Community Wardrobe is simple: “It takes a whole village”.

The community coat check is open the first Thursday of each month from 9 a.m. to noon.

Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times

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