It takes a village of volunteers!
Please see our church policy on Covid before attending the Clothes Closet: https://www.trinitypresbyterianharrisonburg.org/copy-of-publications
Trinity's Clothes Closet has been a House Church mission for decades, and now continues as a Mission Group. Every single Wednesday, the Commons area at church is transformed into a free clothes closet. Clothing of all kinds is available on a first come, first served basis, free of charge. The Closet is open 6:30-7:30pm every Wednesday night. Individuals who are unable to come on Wednesday nights for clothing may contact the church for specific need requests. Donations are accepted at the church during normal business hours (Monday through Friday, 9:00-3:00) or by appointment by calling 540-434-9556.
If you have a group that would like an easy but meaningful volunteer opportunity, contact us! We can facilitate this volunteer experience as a one-time event or on a more semi-regular schedule. For more information, contact the church office at 540-434-9556.
Please check WHSV for closing announcements in case of inclement weather. If the Harrisonburg City Schools are closed the day of the Clothes Closet, the Clothes Closet will also be closed.
We are grateful to the many volunteers who work each week for this ministry, including volunteers from Trinity Presbyterian Church, Muhlenburg Lutheran Church, Youth of Harrisonburg Baptist Church, and UKirk students. We always welcome new volunteers! If you would like to sign up to volunteer in the coming months, please call Kathy Gillette at 703-772-4717.
Looking to help volunteer at the Clothes Closet to help our community members? See what opportunities we have available on our "What's Happening Now" page.
2022 Clothes Closet Update and Big Thanks to all Volunteers!
Hello, Clothes Closet volunteers and prospective volunteers to the Clothes Closet! We enjoy giving back to our community by helping clothe those in need. Here is an update of what went on in 2022, some general information about how we engaged with the community we serve and other churches, non-profit organizations, and a big thank you to all who volunteered this past year.
We have good relationships with many different nonprofits. We try to ensure that clients know of other resources available to them (e.g., free diapers and food pantries). Some groups which our CC has communicated with this year are United Methodist Clothes Closet, Mission Central, Hope Distributed Clothes Closet, AVA Care of Harrisonburg, Harrisonburg City Public School social workers, Mercy House, and Tamara Grant from the Backpack Program. In 2023 we hope to increase our communication with the community to serve more needy families.
In November 2022 we began limiting the amount of clothes each adult could take each visit. (Previously clients could take as much as they wanted. Our goal is to give clients what they need.) Our one bag limit per adult client seems to be working very well. Evenings are calmer at the Clothes Closet (aka CC) since starting our "one bag per adult" policy. Volunteers have more time to help people look for what they need, more time to talk about resources available, and less time folding and bagging. (The bag limit was a result of a vote at an early November meeting of CC volunteers.) This year Covid has not had as much of an impact as it has in the past two years. We still require masks and distancing to protect everyone. Providing masks and plastic bags increased our costs somewhat, but the outcomes are well worth the increase. We still only allow ten clients into the CC area at a time.
Our morning crew is dedicated and efficient at sorting the many donations made to the Clothes Closet. The morning crew consists of a core group of about eight people who work at least two hours per week. We have estimated they worked an average of 700 hours this year! The Clothes Closet wouldn't be able to exist without our morning volunteers, so give them a shoutout when you see them hard at work from 9am-11am on Wednesday mornings! Here is a picture of what the morning crew sometimes finds when they walk in the door. Kind of daunting, isn't it? No worries, the morning crew are experts at sorting, hanging, making split second decisions and they are integral to keep the CC going. Let Kathy Gillette know if you would like to join the morning crew. Our regular morning volunteers are Martha and Dick Kleckner, Janet Slough, John Henderson, Safy Malawy, Talaat Salama, Sandy Jones, and Kathy Gillette.
Four weeks of each month are staffed in the evenings with volunteers from Trinity (contact John Henderson), Harrisonburg Baptist Youth Group (contact Katelyn Belcher), UKirk (contact Abby Butler-Cefalo), and Muhlenberg Lutheran Church (contact Sandy Randolph). We are so grateful to all our great volunteers, many of whom have been helping for many, many years! Below are evening volunteers who assisted in 2022:
1st Wednesday Trinity Presbyterian: John Henderson, Mary Colleen Knapp, Will and Becca Lowrance, Kathy and Yogi Gillette, Martha and Dick Kleckner, Ginny and Jim Newman, Lauren Strawderman, Susan Phend, JB Paez, Melodie Davis, Stephanie Gardner, Elly Swecker, Lisa Wilson
2nd Wednesday Harrisonburg Baptist Youth: Katelyn and Chris Belcher, and 7-8 Youth
3rd Wednesday UKirk: Abby Butler-Cefalo, Olivia, Sarah, Shylah, Kelsy, Bethanie, Reagan, Caitlyn, Dirk, Roy, Rita
4th Wednesday Muhlenberg Lutheran: Sandy Randolph, Donna, Diane, Deb, Carolyn, Macy
Trinity’s Clothes Closet served 1436 clients during 2022!
The Clothes Closet is still in need of a group to volunteer for 5th Wednesdays. Please let Kathy Gillette know if you have any suggestions for a group which could assist. It’s only three months (most years) when we need this extra group to volunteer at the CC and cover the 5th Wednesdays.
Other people and organizations assist the CC with various needs. Here are a few examples of how members of our larger community and church members are helping us:
Muhlenberg Lutheran Church Comfort Makers make quilts for CC clients usually on a yearly basis. These quilts are beautiful and made with love. Thank you for your loving handiwork!
RISE Faith Community decided to spotlight the Clothes Closet as their advent giving organization! They set up donation bins at Merge Coffee Shop near EMU with a specific emphasis for donations of jeans, winter coats, and baby/toddler clothes. Thanks go out to Abby Butler-Cefalo for her work coordinating this! Here are a couple of pictures:
One of our UKirk volunteer students kept an eye out at Gift and Thrift for and helped us get a full truckload of high-quality kids clothes. Thanks so much to UKirk!
Thanks to Victoria Riddle, our church administrator and communication specialist, who helps us out with printing, emails, flyers, copying, web page updates, and it seems any emergency that comes up!
Thanks go out to Ann Radloff for crocheting beautiful scarves for the CC clients. They are “scarfed up” quickly when we put them out. Thanks so much for your skills and time, Ann! Many warm necks for our clients!
Jane Garber from St. Stephens United Church of Christ brought a large donation of winter coats to the CC which has helped many people stay warm this winter. Jane also makes hats for our clients. They are all sizes, colors, and patterns, and are gorgeous and warm! We love seeing Jane on Wednesday morning visits. (Her dog is awesome too.) Thank you, Jane!
Thanks go out to Lauren Strawderman for thinking of the CC when she brought all the unclaimed lost and found from John Wayland Middle School!
Ginny Newman, thanks for keeping an eye out for misdirected clothes and shoes which end up at the Habitat ReStore. ReStore does not carry clothes and shoes, and our CC does not carry household goods, so there are times when we exchange “stuff!”
Thanks go out to the volunteers who volunteered for two different switchover days this year! It’s always a good opportunity to work together for a good common cause. It takes a village on switchover days! Switchover volunteers for April and September were: John Henderson, Sandy Jones, Mary (Sandy’s mom), Dick Kleckner, Lauren Strawderman, Martha Kleckner, Kathy Gillette, Yogi Gillette, Becca Lowrance. Janet Slough, Susie Phend, Mary Lou McMillan, Teresa Harris and granddaughter Eowynn.
Thanks to Teresa Harris and Patti Warner for clothes washing and mending. Everyone at the CC and all our clients appreciate your help!
Bev Silver had a major downsize this year, and she donated all her unused clothes to the CC. Thanks, Bev! Thanks to Martha and Dick Kleckner for helping Bev get the clothes to the CC.
Thanks to Martha Kleckner for keeping track of our statistics! Every week, Martha takes the sign-in sheet and records everything into documents so the info can be accessed whenever needed. Another essential task that keeps us on top of what’s going on!
Thanks go out to Dane Byers for retrieving the unclaimed lost and found from Keister Elementary School and donating it all to the CC.
Thanks to Mary Colleen Knapp! Whether it’s volunteering on a night when we needed just one more person to be able to open, or if it’s helping with signs, policies, brainstorming, or funding, Mary Colleen has been there for the CC as our connection to the Session. Thanks for all your positive support, Mary Colleen!
Harrisonburg Baptist Church Youth Group collected clothes and shoes when we were running low. Thanks go out to the Harrisonburg Baptist Church community for their huge donation! The Youth Group also held an event called Mission Madness which took place on Saturday April 30. This special day gave youth group members from Virginia an opportunity to help others.
Contact Kathy Gillette Kathy.firstname.lastname@example.org