Community Clothes Closet 
opens at Food Pantry site

Last modified: 11/16/2015 9:49:57 AM
SHELBURNE FALLS — For at least 20 years, the Seventh Day Adventist Church on State Street used to have a “free store” of used clothing located in the church basement. But when that program ended, there was nothing to take its place for young families with children to clothe, or for those on fixed incomes.

Now Trinity Church has opened the “Community Clothes Closet” next door to the West County Food Pantry in the lower level of the Cowell Gymnasium, 51 Maple St. It’s open on the same Wednesdays as the food pantry, from noon to 6 p.m., and everyone, regardless of income, is welcome to visit and take free apparel.

Along with opening the new shop, Trinity Church is hosting a Gospel Concert on Saturday, Nov. 7, beginning at 7 p.m. The concert features gospel and original music by Brook Batteau of Shelburne Falls, and Kevin Sharpe of New Hampshire, along with guest artists. Donations for the music concert will benefit the Community Clothes Closet.

The free store will be open this Wednesday, Oct. 28, and it happens to have a bin-full of free Halloween costumes.

“Someone donated this whole bag of Halloween costumes,” explained the Rev. Marguerite Sheehan of Trinity Church. “A 5-year-old was thrilled to find a Superman costume that fit him perfectly.”

Besides things for Halloween, clothing items seen at a recent visit to the shop included winter coats, sheets and pillow cases, sweaters, bags and back-packs, shoes, boots, and clothing racks for men’s, women’s and children’s garments.

“We consider this an outreach of Trinity Church,” Sheehan said. Just as Trinity Church holds weekly community meals for those who need a meal and as a community-building experience, where everyone is welcome, the Community Clothes Closet is for everyone.

Church members began collecting clothing for this store a few months before its opening in October.

“Right now we’re keeping it to all-age clothing, shoes and bedding,” Sheehan said. “If, at some point, we’re able to handle more types of things, we will; but for now, we’re keeping it to basics.”

There is more empty basement space, so the store will have room to grow.

For those with clothing to donate, a clothing drop-off shed is available anytime in the Cowell parking lot. Community Clothes Closet organizers are asking donors to place laundered clothing that is in good condition in plastic bags before placing them in the drop-box.

St. Pauly Textile from New York donated the clothing shed, said Sheehan. “If we find things we can’t use, we will re-bag it and they will give us four cents per pound.” She said the textiles that end up going to St. Pauly Textile will be distributed somewhere in the world, where there is tremendous need. On its website, St. Pauly says all donated clothing will be worn by someone at some point.

Sheehan said the town of Shelburne has given Trinity Church the space rent-free “because it’s a free service benefitting those who need it.”

Food Pantry Coordinator Dino Schnelle said having the free shop next to the pantry “is working out really well. Now we can collaborate to better serve the community. That’s a good thing.”

Excepting holidays, Community Clothes Closet will be open the second, third and fourth Wednesdays of the month (but closed the Wednesday before Thanksgiving).

Gospel concert

Brook Batteau of Shelburne Falls grew up in a musical family and has gone on to play rhythm and blues, rock and pop music. His smooth voice has been compared to those Roy Orbisons, Brian Ferry and David Byrne. He has been in several groups, including Brook Batteau and the Cosmology, and also performs solo.

Kevin Sharpe heads the Kevin Sharpe Group, a gospel ensemble, and started his music career by singing in a choir at age 7. Both musicians are songwriters and will be performing originals as well as traditional and modern gospel tunes.

You can reach Diane Broncaccio at:
dbroncaccio@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 277




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