A regular clothing drive for local youth returned to the Strathmore Seventh-Day Adventist Church on Sept 1.
The God’s Closet event is a drive that occurs every three months, according to organizer Debbie Schwartz, and aims to help families keep up with their rapidly growing children.
“We collect children’s clothes for a three-month period and then we have a shop day… [people] pay a $1 entrance fee and then they get to take two bags of clothes,” she said.
“Many of these people come every time we have it because children grow fast and it’s hard to keep up with buying children’s clothes.”
According to Schwartz, the event has been ongoing for roughly four or five years, only missing one event due to COVID-19 concerns during that time.
“We have from zero to teen,” Schwartz added. “Certainly boy clothes, they get worn out so we don’t get as many donations of [those], but everybody’s always donating clothes to us.”
She explained that although attendance is down from what it used to be, God’s Closet still sees an average of 45 families per event coming out to take advantage of the opportunity.
“People come when they have to when they really need it,” she said. “This is our most popular God’s Closet because it’s back to school, so they need school clothes for their kids.”
Schwartz added the primary challenge of continuing to host God’s Closets is the aspect of having people schedule times to come in, as well as limiting how many people can browse the church at a time.
In order to work within COVID-19 restrictions, Schwartz said the church began having people schedule time slots to come in and browse donations.
“We could only have so many people in the building at a time … people don’t like all those restrictions and people were uncomfortable,” she said. “People getting the clothes that they need, that’s the most important thing. That’s why we do this so that people can receive what they need.”
Given the time of year, Schwartz said the intention was to host the Sept 1 event outside but due to adverse weather conditions the team had to set up indoors.
COVID-19 restrictions allowing, there will be one more God’s Closet before the end of the year though an exact date was not specified.
John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times