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Greece Ecumenical Clothing Closet helps families in need

by Sarah Morris- Copy Editor
Tue, Sep 12th 2017 07:00 pm
Photo taken from Senator Joe Robach's facebook page
Volunteers with the Greece Ecumenical Clothing Closet show off the variety of items they provide for people who are struggling financially.
Photo taken from Senator Joe Robach's facebook page Volunteers with the Greece Ecumenical Clothing Closet show off the variety of items they provide for people who are struggling financially.

The Greece Ecumenical Clothing Closet is looking for volunteers to help sort, fold and hang clothing. The Clothing Closet is open from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday through Saturday and is located at 500 Maiden Lane in Rochester.

Once a month, citizens of Greece and Charlotte are allowed to claim a bag of clothing put together by the program.

When a client comes in, volunteers at the clothing closet fill out a card with their their name, address and telephone number. The bottom of the card has the month and the year. The month gets punched to ensure that people are only coming in to get things once a month.

Englert has been volunteering at the clothing closet for 15 years.

“It was a smaller area [back then],” she said. “We couldn’t put up too many clothes. But since then we have a bigger area and it’s given us a lot of clothing that we can give out. We’re really fortunate.”

When the clothing closet receives donations, a shed is filled with bags of clothing. Volunteers go through every bag and make sure each piece is wearable. If any of the clothing is torn, dirty or beyond repair, it has to be thrown away. However, if there’s only a small tear or hole, it can be donated to Goodwill Industries International.

The clothing closet provides more than just clothing. It also has a variety of basic household necessities. It even has hygiene products like shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant and soap. Currently, they’re in need of appliances, bedding, and trash bags.

“It feels really good to know you’re helping people out,” Englert said. 

Englert recalled one of her favorite volunteering stories. The clothing closet had made up bags of shampoo, deodorant and other toiletries. 

“One time, I gave this lady her bag and she took it in her hands and she got a funny look on her face and she started to cry,” Englert said. “I said ‘are you okay? What’s the matter?’ She said ‘you see this bar of soap here?’ and I said yes and she said ‘did you know, my husband and I are both out of work, we were both laid off. We use a bar of soap to take a shower, to wash our hair, to wash our hands, to wash our dishes. It’s all we have. Do you know how long we had to make this last?’”

Holidays, such as this past Labor Day, are an especially busy time of the year for the clothing closet.

Englert recalled serving 30 people within the time the closet was open. 

“I think because of the holiday and because we offer school supplies too. Some people came in for that as well as the clothing. Sometimes we have blankets and towels. It’s whatever the generous people in Greece and Charlotte give us. We put it out and people are free to take what they need,” Englert said.

The churches in Greece contribute a lot to the clothing closet. They will occasionally have clothing drives and sell the donated clothes to make money. Any clothing that is left over is then donated to the clothing closet.

The clothing closet is also looking for varieties of clothing of all sizes, including baby clothes. The clothing closet accepts monetary donations too, which go towards their overhead expenses.

“I think I have a lot more than other people,” Englert said. “It’s so great to share this with them and to help them. It’s times like this it is well worth it. I love it.”

Anyone interested in volunteering can find out more information at communitywishbook.org or by visiting MyBrockport. Located under events is a post that calls for volunteers on September 16. Eagle Service Corps is hosting it. To sign up to volunteer, you can contact Nikole Van Wie at nvanwie@brockport.edu.