Individuals and families who are struggling to provide basic needs for themselves and their families often cannot afford to buy new clothes. Local thrift stores offer low-cost clothes, but what about those who cannot afford even low-cost clothing?
Grace’s Closet is the answer for many in the area who need clothing but cannot afford it.
Grace’s Closet is a clothing donation program located in the Jones Family Resource Center in Mount Airy.
The entire room is filled with clothing of all types, including some brand new and name-brand clothing. Each piece of clothing donated to the program is cleaned, sorted, and hung on neatly arranged racks spread throughout the store. It looks like a clothing store, filled with clothes of all types, sizes and styles, as well as shoes and accessories.
Laurie Culler runs Grace’s Closet as part of the outreach ministry Disciples of Grace, a non-profit organization and ministry that is comprised of 25 to 30 individuals, with Stuart Mauck as the worship leader.
“All clothing at Grace’s Closet is free. We have a 501(c)(3) non-profit status, filed about four years ago through Disciples of Grace, so donations are tax-deductible,” explained Culler.
Culler said running Grace’s Closet has been a good experience for her. “We are able to help people like grandmothers who have custody of their grandchildren and they need clothing for the the kids…we know we are doing a good thing here and we are just glad to be a part of it,” said Culler.
Rebecca Venable, a volunteer with Grace’s Closet, said she enjoys working with people to put together outfits. “People come in looking for clothes for job interviews, or school clothes for their children…it really is a great program for our community and we want everyone to know we are here — open for donations, volunteers, and anyone who is in need,” said Venable.
Sue Thomas volunteers at Grace’s Closet each week, and Thomas said she was “enthralled with the idea” of a clothing closet, which she found out about after she met Culler at an Women of Faith event, which involved women from multiple churches and ministries in the area.
Thomas said she has seen as many as 15 families per day when the seasons change, which is a busy time for Grace’s Closet.
The idea for Grace’s Closet came from two members of the ministry who suggested a monthly clothes giveaway, and Annalisa Davis, director of the Jones Family Resource Center, asked Culler if Disciples of Grace would be interested in starting a clothing closet at the resource center that would be open on an ongoing basis.
Culler, who already worked part-time at Surry County E-link, which is located in resource center, the idea seemed perfect.
“I went back and talked to Disciples of Grace about it. Since I worked in the building, it seemed like it was the right thing to do so we continued to talk and pray about it.”
Grace’s Closet is open Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. All clothing is free, but there is a monthly limit of four items per person. If someone has a family of four, that means they qualify to receive 16 items of clothing or accessories per month.
The clothing closet is hard work, and Culler is thankful for her volunteers. There are costs involved such as cleaning, paying rent. Monetary donations are gratefully accepted, said Culler, as well as donations of gently used or new clothing, shoes, and accessories.
Culler said Disciples of Grace, the outreach ministry that runs Grace’s Closet, was the result of a mission trip taken to New York City prior to Christmas.
“All of us were from different churches and we all knew Stuart Mauck. We went with him on this mission trip and started talking about how we wanted to serve God and felt the traditional church was not giving us what we needed. It grew from there and we have been doing this for four years now and we love it.”
Disciples of Grace meets for a service every Sunday at 9:30 a.m. at the Jones Family Resource Center’s multi-purpose room, and Culler said anyone is welcome to attend.
Culler said there is no phone in Grace’s Closet, but anyone who would like more information may call the Jones Family Resource Center or email Laurie Culler at email@example.com.
Reach Jessica Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1933.