Clothing center in need of winter clothing

Jackson County Clothing Center in Seymour is requesting donations of winter clothing items, queen-size bedding and large blankets.

The center is currently in desperate need of children’s coats and boys and girls clothing sizes 5 to 16 and socks, underwear and T-shirts, according to officials with the nonprofit organization.

“We are also in need of plus-size coats, such as 3X and 4X, for men and women and all sizes of other winter clothing,” Cheryl Vierling, clothing center board member, said. “Queen-size sheets and bedding are something we can always use too, as it seems no one sleeps in a full-size bed anymore.”

She said many of the apartments or other places where people are living have mostly the queen-size beds.

“We do start seeing more people come in around the holidays and most of our recent clients are new ones,” she said. “We have some repeaters, but I’ve never seen so many new clients and a lot of them are younger and they have kids.”

Vierling said the center at 622 W. Second St. also volunteers through Anchor House Family Assistance Center and Food Pantry and Clarity pregnancy services. If there is an excess of something, she will call those two agencies and sometimes Orphan Grain Train, a Christian volunteer network that ships donated food, clothing and other needed items to people across the United States and 69 other countries. That organization’s Indiana chapter is located at Jonesville in southern Bartholomew County.

She is very appreciative of those organizations coming to pick up the excess donations.

“If we had a larger building we could have household items like coffee makers, pots and pans, glasses and dishes, but we just don’t have the space,” she explained. “We also do take blankets and we have a few, but we need the larger size blankets.”

The clothing center was closed part of 2020 due to COVID-19, but still served about 2,750 families and had about 27,000 items, but in 2019 the center had around 57,000 items, Vierling said.

“Several of us who volunteer at the center still took appointments last year, even if it was just three or four clients a day, and 90% of the time, the client showed up,” she said. “We typically see about 10 families a day, so we’ve helped about 400 families this month.”

Vierling said volunteering at the clothing center is a reward for her as well as the clients.

“I taught for 38 years and I realize that times have changed and the need is great,” she said.

People may drop off clothing and linens at the center during business hours or bagged items may be put in a trunk on the porch any time, with the exception of when the center is closed for the holidays.

Board President Shannan Silver said if the trunk is full, donors are asked to come back another time.

“It’s important that donations are not left stacked on the porch,” Silver said. “We want to keep the neighborhood looking nice with nothing left in back of the building also.”

Items left outside are often damaged by weather or animals and must be thrown away. When that happens, it creates more work for volunteers and is of no service to clients.

“Everything we give out is free, and anyone in Jackson County is free to shop,” she said. “The only requirement is a form of identification for one person in the household.”

Clients may shop one time per month and are given reasonable limits on how much they can have. This ensures the center has enough for everyone who has a need.

Silver said the organization is run by local volunteers, and they are always looking for more helpers.

The center is now closed for the Thanksgiving holiday and will re-open next Wednesday. Regular hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday and Wednesday and 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. Call 812-522-7331 to schedule an appointment time.