Thousands of pieces of clothing went to new homes last weekend, along with shoes, purses, scarves, and costume jewelry. The event was the Spring Clothing Giveaway at St. Stephen Lutheran Church, Marlborough, where everything was free, in great condition, and arranged to create the atmosphere of a store.
The 12th giveaway on May 11 attracted 166 people, all of whom left with one or more large bags of clothing, including spring jackets. Record keepers said 97 coats for men, women, and children were given away, close to the typical 100 winter jackets, coats, capes and fleece pullovers that people select at the fall giveaway. St. Stephen holds two clothing “sales” each year, one in spring and one in the fall, just before Thanksgiving.
The church reaches out to area agencies, and schedules a special time for agency-referred people to shop first. This year, 41 individuals, representing more than a dozen agencies, got first look at the store. The general public came on Saturday, May 11, and Martha Domke, co-leader with Jane Woolsey, said people were lined up outside the church from 8:45 on, more than an hour before the 10 am opening.
Clothing donations come from parishioners and their friends and neighbors. To maintain the quality of the offerings, there is no public drop-off. Instead, donors are asked to wash, fold, and sort donations by gender and size, bring them in the Sunday or Wednesday before the event, and become a sales associate for a little while by arranging them in the store. Dozens of people participate in some aspect of each giveaway. “It takes a village,” Martha Domke noted.
For the past few giveaways, committee members who are also members of Thrivent, a financial services company, have been able to obtain seed money through the Thrivent Action Team initiative. Along with donations, this is used to fund the Giveaway, and has included the purchase of clothing racks and storage containers, and also packages of underwear for men, women, and children, distributed at the Giveaway.
For more information about the church, visit saintstephenlutheran.com or the church’s Facebook page. Saint Stephen is a member of the New England Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (www.elca.org) The church is a Reconciling in Christ congregation, inviting people of every gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, ability, marital status, or class. Parishioners come from Marlborough, Hudson, Berlin, Northborough, Southborough, Westborough, Shrewsbury, Sudbury, and Bolton. Worship services take place on Sunday at 9:30 am.