By Tommy Mann Jr.
The Orange Leader
An annually held clothing drive is in dire straits this summer as clothing donations have tapered off over the last year.
The seventh annual “Back to School Clothing Drive” is scheduled starting at 8 a.m., Aug. 18 at Colony Baptist Church at 13353 FM 1130 in Mauriceville.
According to church member and program volunteer Sheryl Loomis, the church held program helped more than 500 children and parents in 2006.
“Normally, we have plenty of clothes by this time of year as we get ready for the clothing drive,” Loomis said. “But we are very short on children’s clothing and definitely in need.”
The church program offers children and adults free clothing as the beginning of school approaches. School supplies are no longer included in the program as most area schools have programs to help their own students.
“This clothing drive isn’t just for Orange County residents,” Loomis said. “People from all over the Golden Triangle are welcome to come out. They don’t need to bring proof of income or residency or anything like that. We just want people to come out if they need help.”
Items being requested by the church for the clothing drive include shirts, shorts, pants, socks, shoes, underwear, backpacks, purses and even coats.
“Even though it is hot right now, we try to make sure people know we have coats available,” Loomis said. “Winter is only a few months away and some children will need those too.”
Loomis and the church are seeking children’s clothes, including baby clothing, as well as clothing for older children and even adults.
“It is a back to school event, but parents need clothes too,” Loomis said. “”We’ve had a harder time getting children’s clothing the last couple of years, and we’re not sure why.”
Loomis asks that all clothing donated be in good condition. Clothing with holes or stains cannot be given away.
She also said people willing to donate clothing are welcome to drop items off at the church, under the carport, or, in some circumstances, church representatives will come pick up donations.
Loomis said the church will convert the family center into something resembling a facility “as close to a clothing store as possible.”
“Parents are welcome to bring their children on August 18th,” she said. “We will have some of our class rooms open as fitting rooms, so the children can try clothes on first before leaving.”
Loomis and Colony Baptist Church want to provide a family friendly setting while parents shop and make the experience as pleasant as possible.
“People have been calling us already wanting to know when they can come pick up clothes,” Loomis said. “So, the need is definitely there. Maybe some people could consider donating children’s clothing to us instead of using it in a garage sale. Either way, it is going to benefit someone.”
The clothing drive is operated by church volunteers. Starting at 8 a.m., Loomis said the event rarely lasts until the afternoon as most clothes are usually gone before then.
Any clothes remaining after the event are given to other organizations in Southeast Texas which give away, not sale, the clothing to needy families.
“We’re a small country church with a big heart,” she said. “This is something that really touches your heart, and that’s why we never have a problem getting volunteers. Hopefully, we can make this year as big of a success as all of the previous years have been.”
Call 409-745-1671 or 409-746-3232 for more information or to make clothing donations.
Reach this reporter at 409-883-3571, Ext. 2619 or email@example.com