Valdosta Daily Times

February 27, 2013

Clothes Closet increases hours of operation

Dean Poling
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — One couple regularly looks for evening wear for their journeys on cruise ships. A young man purchases several work shirts. A mother buys her daughter a strapless gown.

Park Avenue United Methodist Church’s The Clothes Closet has as many stories and as many types of customers as it does clothes.

One week, a customer heard the Clothes Closet ladies gather everyone to pray for a person; the next week, this customer returned and asked the Clothes Closet volunteers to pray for her mother.

Another woman discovered a $10 bill in a $1 purse. Shopping the next week, she returned the $10, saying keeping it did not feel right. Volunteers thanked her for doing the right thing then they handed the bill back to the woman, saying that now they had also done the right thing.

One customer lost a $20 bill while shopping. A second customer found the $20 bill and returned it to the first customer. The first customer paid for the second customer’s purchases.

Standing in line, a customer asked the pregnant woman ahead of her if she had found everything she needed. The pregnant woman said she was unable to find a crib mattress. The customer said she had one at home and offered to give it to the pregnant woman.

A Brooks County farmer regularly brings fresh produce to share with the Clothes Closet’s customers. Last fall, volunteers and customers all held hands as they prayed with the farmer for the health of his mother.

The stories continue as certainly as people drop off used clothes and customers arrive each week to purchase them.

As these stories indicate, the Clothes Closet is not just for the misfortunate. It is for everyone looking for a good deal on used clothing, or wanting to help one another, or desiring to see the proceeds benefit the church’s mission projects, say Jean Woske and Florence Bone, Clothes Closet co-chairs.

This weekend, volunteers and customers will have the opportunity to make more stories come to life while helping others as the Clothes Closet begins opening the first Saturday of each month and adds an hour to its weekly business hours. The Clothes Closet will go from opening 9 a.m.-noon each Wednesday, to opening 9 a.m.-1 p.m. each Wednesday.

While keeping the traditional name, Woske likes calling the core of volunteers that includes herself, Bone, Sonia Rozier, Jacque Clark, Emma Johnson, Sylvia Tart and Janet Lamon and the Clothes Closet, “Park Avenue’s MAD (Make A Difference) House.

House is more appropriate than Closet, because the organization fills a former Slater Street residence. And this house is similar to a department store. Each room represents a different section of clothing. Children’s clothing fill one area. Another room contains men’s clothing, everything from pants to shirts to suits, even the occasional tuxedo. There’s a women’s room, and a room for more formal women’s attire. The kitchen area holds games, toys and other items for sale.

All of the items are donated to the Clothes Closet. Some of the clothes are used items, washed and cleaned, and presented for sale. Others have never been worn — think of a Dad’s closet filled with shirts and slacks, still bearing the tags, he’s never worn from various birthdays, Father’s Days and Christmases.

The most expensive items, such as men’s suits, adult coats and raincoats, are priced at $5. Everything else is priced below $5. The least expensive items are infant and toddlers sleepwear and separates priced at 50 cents each. The majority of everything is priced at $1 or $2 each.

People making donations are asked to bring their items, washed, during the Clothes Closet’s regular hours, but they may also call Woske, (229) 460-0660, and schedule a time for drop off.

These donated clothes may create the wardrobe of someone else’s life while possibly being a part of the Clothes Closet’s next great story.

The Clothes Closet, 2102 Slater St., will begin opening 9 a.m.-noon, the first Saturday of each month, starting this Saturday, March 2, and will increase its regular Wednesday hours from 9 a.m.-noon to 9 a.m.-1 p.m. next Wednesday, March 6.