As the school year approaches, calls to our Help Center for children’s clothing increase significantly. Parents find that their little ones have turned into bigger ones over the summer and the pants from last year are now too small!
Through their partnership with Love INC, the congregation of Bethel Lutheran in Gurnee recognized this need and have opened the doors to our families for the past three years. Volunteers from the church turn the gym into a pop-up clothing store. Other volunteers serve as personal shoppers, helping families find just the right sizes and colors during their appointment.
During the two days of shopping this August, they served 50 families totaling 158 children. An estimated 3,000+ articles of clothing were distributed! The families were pleased with the quality and cleanliness of the clothes. Several of the client families arrived with clothing that their children had outgrown to share, helping to bless others in the community.
The team at Bethel smiled, prayed, cried, laughed and hugged at their Clothing Closet park bench. The Love of Christ was shown to many once again!
Love Stories from the Bethel Team
One evening we did not have a translator, but a young man about 20 years old was shopping with his family and helped me translate the prayer. During the course of the evening he helped me with four other families. While doing prayers with the Spanish speaking families, I would say a phrase in English, it was translated into Spanish, and often the family would then repeat that phrase again, or do a response similar to what they would do during Mass.
We had an older volunteer who was a little reluctant (we did a little arm twisting). We had several no-shows that evening and she didn’t have much to do. Then I paired her up with a young mother of six. The two of them spent the next hour smiling, chatting, and looking for clothes together. They especially enjoyed picking out the baby clothes. Afterwards both women were thrilled with their experience!