Church offers free clothing for families

Cutline: Barbara Ford and her daughter Abigail volunteer at the clothing distribution centre housed at the Sturgeon Falls Pentecostal Church. The clothing is free to anyone in need.

With many families facing financial hardship due to the ongoing pandemic, the SF Pentecostal Church decided to provide a bit of relief by offering good used clothing to anyone in need. Volunteer Barbara Rapp Ford says the donated clothing is checked for quality, sorted according to size, and available free of charge. “Three or four days a week from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. I try to be here so people can come in, look through the clothes, and take what they need. Everything is free.” In addition, if you’ve been sorting through your garments and are ready to donate, SFPC will be happy to take them off your hands. “You can donate any time Monday to Thursday, between 10 and 4. The pastors (Pastor Rolland Sicard and his wife Noreen Sicard) are here. We just ask that nobody leave any bags or anything outside the front door. When you come in, sanitize your hands, and we do have masks. They are provided if you don’t have any.”

Barbara proudly shows off the two rooms used for the clothing. In the kids’ clothing room, everything is sorted in bins according to children’s sizes. When people come, they are asked to sign in, for contact tracing purposes. In a room across the hall, the shelves and racks are jam-packed but neatly sorted, with dresses, robes, shoes, shirts, pants. “We don’t get a lot of men’s shoes,” says Ford, noting that men usually wear their clothes until they wear out. “I put a plea out on Facebook – there are six different sites I use to tell people I am here… I get a lot of good feedback and we get a lot of donations.  We’re looking at 20 to 30 bags a day right now.” Anything that comes in that is “too well loved” either goes to people who recycle to make rags, or to other recycled clothing outlets. Recently a washer and dryer has been installed. “We will wash things; that will help with any clothes that smell like smoke or have animal fur. That will help a lot. I have all my baby clothes washed.”

This is not the first time the church brings such assistance to the community. “This started years ago. At SFPC we did three or four community dinners a year and all of this would be put out on tables in the big room and anyone could come in at that time and take what they wanted. We would put anything left back, and store everything in bins and bags. Then, we thought, why don’t we get shelves, put it out and utilize it more frequently. And then COVID happened and the church wasn’t considered an essential service. Then the bill was passed that churches were considered essential services, so now we are allowed up to 10 people in the building.”

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