By Kathy Brown.
Is your budget tight but the kids need new clothes? Are you cleaning out your closet and wondering where to donate? Does your child need a pair of shoes for the spring concert and you know he will outgrow them before the next one so you don’t want to buy a new pair of shoes for just one day? In June 2017, a “Community Closet” opened in the Annex Building (11 Jail Hill Road, Haddam). It’s like a swap shed for clothes! If you have clean, gently used clothing, drop them off during the hours of operation or any time in the brown bin outside of the Social Services Office at the Annex (the box has been located in front of the Brainerd Memorial Library). If you want or need clothing, come browse the gently used clothing and shoes for newborns to adults! They are open the first and third Saturday of each month from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
It was started in 2008 by Laura Kuehn and originally located at the Valley Bible Church in Haddam, and called the “Little Ewe Clothing Closet,” which catered to children 10 and under. Laura said, “I noticed there were many families bringing bags of clothes to church to hand down to others. It seemed that a clothing closet at the church could serve two purposes: (1) as a place for attendees and visitors to exchange kids’ clothes, and (2) as an outreach to those in need in the community.” In 2016, Valley Bible needed the Closet space and Amy Mainetti helped find a new home for the Closet. The town lets them use the space, and the volunteers are very grateful for that. At the time of the move, the clothing selection was expanded so that it included older children, as well as adults.
The selection of clothing is varied, from shoes, hats, and gloves, to snow gear for children, and some dress wear. There is no need for financial hardship to browse at the closet. “It can be nice for families to know that as budgets tighten, they do not have to outfit an entire closet for their growing children,” said Linda. “Nor do they have to buy a pair of dress pants for a one-time event. We want it to be accessible to all.”
It is run by volunteers, and no money is exchanged. They are not, however, an official 501(c)(3). One of the volunteers is Jessica Condil, who is also the Social Services Coordinator for Haddam. She works closely with the Community Closet, and if someone needs access to the closet at another time than when it is normally open, they can contact Jessica. “She has been extremely supportive and encouraging to the work that we do at the Closet,” said Laura. “She volunteers her own time to make sure that it stays open.”
At this time, they are in need of men’s tops of all sizes, larger women’s tops (large and extra large), as well as boys’ pants in all sizes.
Follow them on Facebook. If you have questions, please email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to volunteer, email email@example.com or Jessica at Social Services at Socialservices@haddam.org and they will add you to their volunteer list. At this time, they are looking for monetary donations so they can purchase additional racks for clothing. Monetary donations can also be given to Social Services to support their work in the community.
Check them out the next time they’re open!
Photos by K. Brown.