Dress for less: being fashion-forward on a dime
At the church, located at 11517 Genesee Street, about 10 volunteers led by Pastor David Grainge run a community clothes closet, which offers clothing for men, women, and kids, plus toiletries and a food pantry, free of charge. The clothes closet accepts donations, but do not ask for monetary donations to take anything in the closet – everything can be taken home gratis.
It all began when Millgrove would provide clothes to the old BryLin rehabilitation center in Millgrove (which is no longer open) about eight to 10 years ago.
“It closed about eight years ago and we said, what are we going to do with all these clothes?” Grainge said. “We had the idea to do a clothing exchange, where people could share all their clothes and pass them on. Then it developed into a community-wide clothes closet.”
The clothes closet is open from 9 a.m. to noon on the third Saturday of every month. There has been talk recently about keeping it open one evening a month, but nothing is set in stone yet. Sue Evick and Jane Naslund were relaxing in the clothes closet the morning the Metro Source decided to drop by, and the boutique-like environment was fancy and impressive.
The visual merchandising was all done by Naslund, who used to work in retail and placed yellow garments strategically on the walls for a brightening, enlivening effect. Naslund began working in the clothes closet and sought companionship with church volunteer work after she lost her husband to cancer.
“It’s like my therapy, too – I love it,” said Naslund.
The ladies of the clothes closet have also offered personal styling, and spoke of a time they outfitted a man in a suit on his way to a wedding.
“We don’t want stuff to stay here, we want it to move out and go to people in need,” said Naslund. “The whole purpose is bringing it in and giving it out. Everyone who comes, they are in need a little bit, but I don’t think totally that they’re ‘poor.’ I think it just helps. Now things are so expensive, even at the grocery store.”
Representatives from The Salvation Army come almost every other month to collect donations of leftover items. Evick and Naslund’s daughters post information about the clothes closet online, to generate more of a following, and since neither one of the women have computers. Another project in the works is having a refrigerator in the clothes closet, with dairy products and produce.
“People come and bring their clothes and the good stuff we keep, and the others we send to City Mission and The Salvation Army,” Grainge said. “We’re sort of a clearing house for clothes.”
“People come in with big bags and go with lots of clothes,” said Evick, dressed in a royal blue sweater with a striking, sparkly brooch. “We have people who come in and give to their neighbors. I have people on our street who need food; it’s an ongoing ministry.”
For more information about the clothes closet and other opportunities at Millgrove Bible Church, call 937-7926.