By Steve Sears
Service and good works are a great thing. They breed future good works.
Consider the Hackettstown-located God’s Closet, started in November 2014 by Lama Garve. “Another chapter was born out of the inspiration of God’s Closet Hackettstown – in Bridgeton, New Jersey,” she says. Garve is the founder and Director for the Hackettstown chapter, which is the first chapter on the east coast.
Courtesy of www.godscloset.com, “The basis of this service ministry consists of a donation network whereby individuals, families and businesses are invited to donate gently used and new children’s clothing at any time throughout the year to God’s Closet. Then, one day per quarter, God’s Closet will open for parents and guardians of children to come ‘shop’ free of charge, with the exception of a small admission fee – usually $1.00, from our selection of donated supplies.”
Garve says, “The need is great! We service everyone, from anywhere who needs our help; including the unemployed, large families, single families, victims of fire, the immediate loss of a parent or guardian.”
She then adds, “I wish that we could do more; be effective to needs outside of the quarterly events.”
God’s Closet relies on drop-off donations, which are then sorted by size and gender. Donations of gently used children’s clothes, Boys and Girls sizes 6 – 12, are the prime need, and these sizes often run out of stock before the end of each event. It’s a huge job for the administrative team of seven and about twenty volunteers. Sometimes a portion of the donations are rejected and given to other charities because the clothes are stained, have holes, or are worn out. Free shopping events are scheduled for the first Friday in February, May, August and November, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Garve says the public can help out in numerous ways. “Donate a secured donation bin for drop off donations at our location. We are looking for a business that will place a well needed donation bin at their location. We welcome schools, corporate offices, and businesses who will take one of our blue bins in their location for a winter coat drive this fall. Donate back to school ‘care packages’ for the next event in August. ‘Care packages’ includes the basic back to school necessities.”
God’s Closet Hackettstown, as a community service ministry, is run by volunteers. Garve elaborates. “We welcome all students who require community service hours for college applications. From time to time we have exchange students who are eager to serve, we welcome them as well. We are always seeking volunteers, of all ages, from high school age to active seniors in our community. The Wednesday before our event is Community Volunteer Day, where the community is invited to come and help with sorting and setting up the Closet for the free event. Most of our volunteers were shoppers and are so willing to volunteer. They are very zealous and encouraging.”
As an incentive, volunteers are welcome to shop on Community Volunteer Day, so that they do not have to shop on event day itself.
God’s Closet Hackettstown is located at 927 Route 517 in Hackettstown. Visit www.godscloset.com or call (973) 216-0024.