By Johnna VanDeurzen, Annual Giving & Grants Specialist, Community Clothes Closet
Clothing may seem incidental to people who have adequate and functional attire, but for anyone who does not, receiving the gift of the right apparel can have profound effects. Community Clothes Closet in Menasha has been providing free clothing to people experiencing economic challenges for over forty years, and bras are a priority for many female clients. As most women know, it is hard to overstate the positive effect of a well-fitting undergarment.
Recently a woman came to the Closet after her family’s home was destroyed. She didn’t have a bra to wear and was very uncomfortable being in public without one. She shopped for many things for her entire family that day, but the items she was most thankful for were several bras in her size. “I didn’t want to come here today, but am so glad I did. This is a light in a very dark week for us.” she said.
Another client named Sara recently visited the nonprofit’s New Start Boutique for an interview outfit. Sara was offered a new job but worried that she didn’t have the clothing that the dress code required. Her job-appropriate wardrobe gave Sara some breathing room for other basic needs for herself and her 14-year-old son, who is challenged with autism and bi-polar disorder.
After a few weeks on the job, Sara shared, “I have been welcomed with open arms and I am getting back on my feet! I enjoying going to work again.”
2020 Community impact
“Without caring partners like the Community Foundation, we would not be able to continue our important work of providing free clothing,” says Community Clothes Closet executive director Lisa Jones. “We are grateful for the opportunity to showcase the impact made possible by your support –thank you for all you do!”
Among the programs made possible by generous support from the community in 2020:
The Shopping Floor – provided new and gently used clothing and home goods like bedding and pillows to 3,619 individuals.
New Start Boutique – supported 71 job seekers with interview and career appropriate clothing.
Cool for School – provided a set of new school clothes and shoes for 281 children.
PajamaRama – taught 236 children ages 2-12 the importance of healthy bedtime routines and celebrated the joy of reading before bedtime.
Baby Kits – provided essential newborn items for new parents, including 26 Baby Kits and more than 1,000 newborn diapers and clothing items.
The Community Clothes Closet was supported by grants from 26 funds within the Community Foundation in 2020.