Do you have clothes lying in your closet that you never wear? These clothes could go to a person in need. Start a clothes closet, and families facing financial stress may find one of their main burdens relieved.
- Gather volunteers for the ministry. You will need people for the following tasks: prepare and sort the clothing for distribution, operate the closet, record keeping and/or provide transportation for those who have no means of access to the closet.
- Set a policy for the closet. Who will be given/sold clothes (e.g. victims of disaster, the homeless, impoverished school children)? Are there limits to be placed? Who makes decisions? How often will the closet be open?
- Determine the location of the clothes closet. Maybe your church or a church member has a spare room or attic to house the clothes. The clothes closet should have room to sort, fold, and size the donated clothes.
- Collect clothing donations from church and community members. Consider asking for specific clothing needs like winter coats or baby clothing. You will also need clothes racks and hangers. Organize racks to hang the clothes by size, style, etc.
- Get word out to the community about the clothes closet. Consider advertising to local homeless shelters.
- On the day the closet is open, make sure that it is well staffed by friendly faces who will assist people as they are looking for clothes. Set a record system to log who visits and gets clothes.
- If you wish to extend this ministry to an on-going project, you will need a constant supply of clothes. Consider coordinating with area churches or local businesses.
- When recruiting volunteers, keep in mind that this project could be time-consuming and requires good organizational skills.
- During the planning stages, consider the cost of operation. Will you need monetary donation to offset the cost, or will you need to sell the clothing for a small price? Will everything be given away?
- Remember that you are ministering to people’s needs, not just distributing clothes. Take time to share Christ’s love and engage the people in conversation. Offer to pray with them.