WESTFIELD – Throughout the year, members of the Community Church of Westfield are reaching out and helping others, and on Aug. 15, they will open their doors for a “Back to School Clothes Closet and School Supply Giveaway.”
The free offering for families in need is slated from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the church at 170 Elm St.
“With the economic impact of the pandemic this year, we know a lot of people are out of work and don’t have the money to buy clothes and supplies for school,” said Karen Orell, who is the event co-coordinator along with Jean Beal. Beal’s husband, Merle, serves as church pastor.
“We want to help people any way we can,” said Orell, noting church members have been gathering over several nights to organize all of the clothing and school supplies that will be offered.
For families coming to Saturday’s event, everyone will be required to wear a face mask.
“We will have someone standing in the outside doorway to ask everyone to social distance while standing in line,” said Orell, noting there will be a door to enter the building and a separate door to exit.
Once inside, individuals will be given a squirt of hand sanitizer and then they will pick their own bag before perusing the various tables and clothes racks that will have clothing for all ages organized by size. Most of the clothing is gently used and all items have been cleaned.
“We also have clothing that still has the tags on them,” said Orell, adding, “some people went out and bought clothes.”
Orell said a consignment shop had recently closed and the owner donated the inventory of clothing for children to this event.
“We will have rubber gloves in the event someone is concerned about touching items,” said Orell.
During the daylong event, Orell said there will be at least three volunteers helping out but they will keep their distance from everyone.
“We will try to stand back as much as possible,” said Orell, adding there will only be 10 people inside the building at any given time to ensure social distancing protocols are followed.
Orell also reminded persons attending that a restroom will not be available for public use.
While most clothing will be on tables and racks, there will also be bins set up with clothing for newborns through 24 months.
Orell said there is a wide variety of clothing to look over, from pajamas, shirts, pants and dresses, to sweaters, sweatshirts and jackets.
“Ties, scarves, socks, shoes and skirts have also been donated,” she said.
In addition to the clothing, church members have donated a wide variety of school supplies, from 3-ring binders with filler paper, index cards, erasers, highlighters and crayons, to rulers, pens, pencils, pencil boxes, one-subject notebooks, Elmer’s glue and glue sticks.
“Even if people come in and just find two or three things that they need it is less they will have to buy,” said Orell.
Orell noted that when the call went out to church members recently about the giveaway day – everyone went to work on the list of suggestions of items sought.
“Church members were very willing to help out,” she said. “I gave them a list of suggestions to buy and people were really responsive to that.”
While the church runs on a small budget, it is events like this that church members hope helps others in need.
“We are trying to get out more and do things for the community,” said Orell, adding, “We’re trying to do God’s work.”