MOUNT GILEAD — 750 pairs of socks were given to 150 Morrow County children by the Clothes Closet this past year, along with many coats, gloves, blue jeans and T-shirts.
The clothing needs of many children in Morrow County was described by Clothes Closet volunteers Pat Miller and Carolyn Beal at the November Chamber of Commerce lunch meeting held at Handlebar Ranch.
This is the 33rd year for the Clothes Closet that was started in Mount Gilead in 1986 by the Little Prides and Joys Mothers Club. It was started by the moms for children in the Mount Gilead schools when they saw children going without coats and hats in the winter. It soon spread to help children in all the school districts in the county.
Volunteer Carolyn Beal described the work volunteers do in helping children as their “personal shopper.” Beal is a former teacher and school administrator. She said the volunteers all have many stories to tell about how much the children appreciate the clothing.
“I saw the self-esteem of kids go up after a trip to the Clothes Closet,” said Beal.
Beal told a touching story of a young boy she helped who came in “all smiles.” He was wearing pants that were dragging on the floor and said he couldn’t try on any clothing because he didn’t have any underwear. Beal helped him choose some new underwear and sent him home happy with a new pair of jeans that fit.
Although the project was started 1986 in Mount Gilead it’s now located at Northfield Medical Center just south of Johnsville on U.S. 42. Miller thanked Dr. and Mrs. Grant Galbraith for use of the facility.
Notes go out to children’s parents at the beginning of the school year and parents who are interested call to make an appointment for their child to “shop” at the Clothes Closet. The children must be accompanied by a parent, grandparent or other adult when they come to choose clothes.
There is no charge for the clothing. The Clothes Closet receives monetary donations as well as donations of clothing. They are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Money donated goes to purchase some of the clothing as well as hangers, racks and shelving.
Miller said that over the years the Kroger Community rewards has totaled over $12,000 in giving and Amazon Smiles also has community giving. She said to be sure to put it online under Mount Gilead Clothes Closet since that is still their name, even though they are no longer in Mount Gilead.
“One hundred percent of all donations goes for the children,” said Miller.
Miller noted that the end of the year is a great time to stock the Clothes Closet with all the year-end sales coming up. Items needed for boys and girls include all sizes of snow gloves, tee shirts, tops, jeans and socks. She noted that boys prefer boxer underwear. All underwear and socks given are new. Coats and other clothing may be “gently used.” Teen styles of clothing are popular with older youth.
Chamber of Commerce Director Shelley Planey is excited to have the Clothes Closet project as the year-end challenge for the Chamber. They will be collecting for the Clothes Closet at next month’s Chamber meeting.
Places where clothing items can be dropped off are The Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) in Mount Gilead and at most churches in Mount Gilead and around the county.