07 Sep Community Closet launches soon, providing clothes to those in need
This month, a new volunteer-run initiative, known as the Community Closet, opens its doors to serve the community of St. Marys and surrounding area with free clothing for those in need. Located at the St. James Anglican Church, locals will be able to access the clothes they need free from any financial barriers.
The idea for this Community Closet came about almost a year ago thanks to Karen Kittmer. In the fall of last year, Karen was visiting a school that had its very own closet near their entry way. It was filled with donated school supplies and clothes for children who were less fortunate. Seeing this and aware of the limited number of services that offer free clothing in St. Marys, Karen was inspired to help her community. She brought forward her idea of a Community Closet to the Town and got in contact with Brittany Petrie, the town’s community outreach worker. Brittany confirmed the large demand for clothing and that this was in fact a high priority need. Now in partnership with the Town and eventually the Church, Karen’s notion was brought to life.
Ideas only go so far if there isn’t a clear mission statement behind them and when asked about their goal it seemed clear why this idea was made possible. “Due to the increase in the cost of living, people in Perth County are having difficulty affording necessities in life such as food, clothing & shelter. Currently in St. Marys, there are a limited number of services that offer free clothing to those in need. This type of service within our community will provide all residents of St. Marys & surrounding areas with the opportunity to have access to free clothing. No one should have to choose between necessities in life, therefore the mission of this project is to eliminate the financial barriers for residents to have access to clothing,” said Brittany Petrie.
In a recent interview with the Independent, Jenny Calder, vice-chairperson of the Community Closet, stated it is wonderful that so many people are willing to help the cause. “There’s lots of different partnerships involved that worked together with us to make this happen. The town is supporting us through Brittany’s role and she just being able to use her time and support us has been a huge contribution. The church providing volunteers and offering us this space for permanent use is fantastic, and with help from local businesses and partners we’ve secured donations that fund things like clothing racks and storage totes.”
On September 16th, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., the St. Marys Community Closet has its grand opening and is welcoming all sorts of clothing donations. They are accepting donations of new or gently used adult and children’s clothing, outerwear, footwear, and reusable bags. Some areas that could really use some help would be toddler size 2-5, all boys and men’s, small women’s, children’s pajamas, closed toe shoes and warmer clothing for fall/winter.
Jenny Calder reminds us that “we don’t have a lot of storage space so we need to make sure that when people are bringing things in, it is stuff that people will be able to take and use in the coming months rather than something we’ll have to hold onto until next summer.” The Closet encourages people to bring season specific clothing in order to help everyone out.
For those able to donate, drop-off times occur every other Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the St. James Anglican Church (65 Church St. S) starting September 16th. The Meridian Credit Union (134 Queen St. E) is also accepting donations during their business hours (Mon-Fri 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. excluding statutory holidays).
The Community Closet Shopping Launch date is September 25th from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and shopping days will continue every other Monday following this date as well as on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month at the same times (2 p.m. to 6 p.m.)
Want to get involved? Volunteers are still needed to help staff their storefront! Volunteers must be 18 years or older and will need to complete a required training course in advance. If interested, apply on their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/stmaryscommunitycloset.
You can also contact the St. Marys Community Closet at email@example.com or by phone at 226-261-0098.