Greenfield Y seeks clothes, volunteers for ‘free store’

  • Volunteers Mariellen Hayre and Bethany Jenest fold and sort donated clothing for the YMCA third annual Free Clothing Store. Recorder File Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Recorder Staff
Published: 9/13/2017 3:35:23 PM

GREENFIELD — In 2008, after a Chapman Street apartment fire left 21 people homeless, the Greenfield YMCA called on its members to donate gently used, clean clothing for a “Free Store” that would help those who had lost everything in the fire.

Not only did the Free Store help the fire victims, but plenty others who were invited to shop for needed clothing.

Next month, the ninth annual “Free Store” will take place in the Greenfield Y’s gymnasium, and the YMCA is looking for both donations of clothing and volunteers who are willing to fold, hang up clothing, and set up this “store” of free merchandise.

“Last year, over 600 people came through,” said Jayne Trosin, the Y’s fitness director. She said the line of standing people waiting to go into the store stretched from the Y to Brad’s Place restaurant on Main Street. “We let them fill bags with clothing, and we see that there really is a need,” she said.

The Y is inviting anyone with good, used clothing to bring their donation to the YMCA, at 451 Main St., beginning Monday, Sept. 25. Volunteers are requested to sort, fold and hang clothing on Oct. 2 and 3 — the two days before the Free Store opens.

“We’re always interested in having more children’s clothing and gently worn shoes,” says Terry Ruggles, a volunteer. “We look for all sizes of clothing, but children’s clothing seems to be in high demand.”

“Two days before the free store, we need to sort huge amounts of clothing,” Ruggles said. “Last year, we needed a good 20 to 30 volunteers to sort and fold.”

Ruggles explained that the Free Store is made to look as much like a commercial store as possible, with a separate children’s section and men’s and women’s clothing organized by size. “A couple of stores are gracious enough to donate bags,” he said. “We also have stores that are nice enough to let us borrow racks to hang the clothing on.”

“It a very worthwhile project. There’s a lot of enthusiasm when people feel they can get something that’s going to benefit their families.”

Ruggles said the Free Store attracted 615 shoppers last year, with three or four boxes of clothing left over. Those were donated to other charitable agencies.

Volunteers work in 90-minute shifts. They are needed for sorting, folding and organizing clothing Oct. 3 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Oct. 4 from 9 a.m. to noon. Volunteers to work the store in 90-minute shifts are needed Oct. 4 from 1 to 7 p.m. and Oct. 5 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Cleanup volunteers are needed Oct. 5 from 2 p.m. to closing time.

Starting Monday, bring clothing donations to the Welcome Center at the Y. To volunteer, sign up at the Welcome Center or call Jayne Trosin at 773-3646, ext. 448.

Greenfield Recorder

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