My friend Kim organizes a clothing exchange twice a year at our church for anyone in the community to come and get free clothing for their families. It has been a HUGELY successful ministry and SUCH a practical and obvious opportunity to bless people around us.
I love this “Mommy Ministry” and asked her to write some details about it for you.
HOW IT BEGAN:
As a first time Mom, I was overwhelmed with the task and expense of keeping my daughter clothed in the correct season and size. Several other moms in our congregation mentioned that they had things I could use. So it came to mind to organize an exchange. It began as a group of Moms getting together with the things they would be willing to part with (or loan) to someone else in the congregation.
An exchange of children’s clothes grew into what is now a community event. Twice a year, in April and October, we take donations of any size or season of clothing, shoes, coats, boots, and bedding to freely distribute to the people of the church first, and the community second.
The fun begins on the Wednesday evening preceding the Saturday event when tables and clothing racks are set up and all the donations are brought in from their storage area.
Thursday morning, the sorting begins. With all the rows labeled, each person can take a bag or box and put the appropriate items on the appropriate tables. This generally continues all day Thursday and Friday with breaks for meals. Clothing from size newborn up to adult are sorted, organized, hung and folded.
Friday evening, the congregation is invited to come and take what they can use. Then Saturday morning from 8-12, the doors are open to the public. People can come and take what they can use without restrictions or strings attached. As people walk in the door, they are given an empty bag and asked if there is anything specific they are looking for. If there is, they are guided to that area. If not, we point out the labels for each row and let them begin the hunt. At the end of the event, leftovers are boxed and given to a local thrift store or charity, as they are available and willing to take them.
THE REASON BEHIND IT: I cannot tell you how rewarding this project has become. It allows us to make contact with people in the community that we might not otherwise meet. It allows us to meet needs without people having to ask, thus allowing them to maintain some dignity. Plus, it allows us to clothe our families for little to no expense. Most importantly, though, it allows me to do what Jesus commanded and clothe those who are “naked”. Who knows, maybe he or one of his angels have been through those doors a time or two and picked up a couple of things!
If you’re interested in organizing a clothing exchange ministry similar to this one, click here to download more information. No need for you to re-invent the wheel when she’s already got a wonderful detailed explanation of how to run an event like this one!
Thanks Kim for taking the time to share this with us!