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Church clothing bank fills need

April 10, 2000|By ANDREA ROWLAND

CLEAR SPRING - A Clear Spring church follows in the footsteps of the Lord.

Acting on Saint Matthew's Biblical words about Jesus, "When I was naked, you visited me," members of St. Peter's Lutheran Church in 1994 opened a clothing bank in the church at 30 S. Martin Street.

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The Second Time Around Shop is still around, thanks to generous donations, congregation volunteers and the efforts of shop coordinators Ruth Mills and Janice Kelley, said the Rev. Andy Carr, pastor at St. Peter's since August 1995.

Interim Pastor Bruce Barth and the church's social ministry committee started the clothing bank as a "natural outreach to be able to provide clothing in a more localized area," Carr said.

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The clothing is free and available to anyone in the community who needs help. The shop operates on a $300 annual budget.

Fire victims, school children and area families going through tough times have paid visits to The Second Time Around Shop, Mills said.

"It's been a great community resource in providing some of our kids here with clothing," said Regina Sharp, assistant principal at Clear Spring High School. "We're just grateful it's here."

Mills recalled one customer's elation at finding a nearly new snow suit for her granddaughter.

"These are the things that make those of us who work here keep doing it," Mills said. "If you've only helped one family, it's worth it."

Mills and Kelley focus on sorting and arranging clothing and staffing the shop during the week, while at least 10 other volunteers help with clothing storage and customer service during the shop's Saturday hours, Mills said.

Church members also focus on spreading word about the shop, which shares a room with the Clear Spring Lions Club food bank.

A variety of infant and toddler clothing hangs on racks among older children's pants, shirts, sweatsuits and coats. Underwear, socks, hats and mittens top shop shelves.

The shop features some brand new clothing and welcomes donations of new socks and underwear, Mills said.

Men's clothing is no longer kept in stock because it wasn't turning over, she said.

Shoes and women's dresses are stocked but don't seem to be in as much demand as blue jeans, sweatshirts and sweatpants, Mills added.

Clothing in boys and girls sizes 10 to 14, as well as larger women's sizes, is desperately needed, said Carr, who added that he is willing to pick up women's clothing in those sizes.

Donations are heaviest during seasonal transitions, and Mills and Kelley sort through the piles of clothing to weed out apparel that seems to suit community needs.

"Their patience at the overflow of clothing is certainly appreciated," Carr said.

The women send men's clothing and donated apparel not chosen for the shop to such area help centers as the Union Rescue Mission, Goodwill Industries and The Salvation Army, he said.

Items not given away during the season but deemed worth saving are packed for the next year. Those clothes are given to other agencies if they remain in the shop a second year.

Carr said he plans to contact retailers about donating extra clothing items, especially apparel in larger women's sizes.

The Second Time Around Shop is open from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, and from 11 a.m. to noon on the first and third Saturday of each month. Clothing donations are accepted during operating hours.

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