Clothing giveaway benefits community by providing essentials

·3 min read

Oct. 5—When a new haul of clothes or blankets are placed on the table of a storage room inside First Lutheran Church, Judy Monroe neatly stacks them in large piles. And with only a few weeks left until Neighbors Helping Neighbors hosts its big clothing giveaway, Monroe is confident the piles will disappear.

That is how great the need for clothing is in Newton, Monroe stressed.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors is organizing a winter clothing giveaway 10 a.m. Oct. 23 inside the Fellowship Hall of First Lutheran Church, 309 E. Third St. N., to address that need, and make sure individuals in the community walk away from the event either carrying or, in some instances, wearing the essentials.

"We do them twice a year, except when there's COVID going on. The last one we had was held in summer 2019. We do them summer and winter," Monroe said. "This room will be transformed. Every table the church owns will be set out. And we will have mountains of clothing."

Consisting of people from different church congregations in Newton, Neighbors Helping Neighbors is an organization that offers free laundry nights and two free clothing giveaways each year. Monroe volunteers for the group, which has been operating in the community for a few years now.

Although its role as a laundry assistance provider takes up a great deal of the organization's efforts, the clothing giveaways are just as important. Monroe has seen the impact first hand; the giveaways are a chance for any person in town to acquire clothing for themselves or their families.

"The need is so great, and we know this from watching the breadline (at Salvation Army)," she said. "They line up at 7:30 for the 9 o'clock open. When we say we're going to open our doors at 10 o'clock there will be people standing outside the doors of the church at 8 in the morning. They want to be first in line."

During past giveaways, volunteers have handed out new pairs of underwear and socks until they've run out. Monroe said this gesture — which was a response to what volunteers saw at laundry nights — is also extended to the family members who did not come with. The group will continue the tradition this month.

"When they were doing their laundry and we could see the clothing they were washing, we realized brand new socks and underwear are needed," Monroe said. "The old socks and underwear we saw were wearable. But when you're talking about human dignity, brand new socks and underwear go a long way."

Neighbors Helping Neighbors is accepting donations until Oct. 18. To donate gently used winter clothing, shoes or boots of various sizes and/or new underwear and socks, Monroe said First Lutheran is accepting drop-offs during its office hours 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Stained or ripped clothes are not accepted.

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or cbraunschweig@newtondailynews.com

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