To anyone else, our system is a bit odd. As many of you know, The Dale does not own it’s own building. So we store stuff here and there, in various rooms and fridges and nooks and bins. Part of being The Dale means we also receive donations of various things – the majority of the food we use for our Monday lunch through Second Harvest, time, love, prayers, toiletries, money, music talents, and clothing just to name a few things.
In an effort to keep things contained, we often gather any clothing donations and put them in our room of stuff in the building we use on Monday. This is the day we usually give out clothing donations, as we see the most people during this drop-in and we have that room for our belongings, so our capacity for storage is larger.
Since I’ve started at the Dale, we have usually taken to folding some clothes, and putting them on the stage in the main drop-in room for people to sort through and take what they wanted or needed. However, it usually ended up in a big messy clump of stuff leaving the items hard to distinguish and not very dignifying for someone to go through. At one of our last retreats, we decided as a team for various reasons that we would go through the clothing at the beginning of a Monday, hang them on a rack that just so happened to be at the church where we hold our drop-in, and have a clothing “room” of sorts – people could visit this rack as they pleased, look through things that were nicely hung up, and decide with dignity what they wanted.
After some time and consideration, we also decided that this would be a great job for me. I love to organize and tidy and do things that are tangible. I also love connecting with people, but often find that I get overwhelmed in large groups sometimes. The clothing room would be a way for me to use my organizational skills, and connect with people more individually as they made requests for any clothing they needed.
I have to say, I love my new “job”. I wake up on Monday looking forward to getting the clothing rack ready, and I have a list on my phone of things that people have asked me to keep an eye out for and their size. I love seeing the joy on their face as I bring them sometime they might find useful, and I like looking through the items we have received and hanging them up in a way that looks nice – that someone would be dignified by. Writing this, I am thinking of my grandma Beulah, who organizes and runs her own clothing room at her own church in Innisfil (to say she “runs” this clothing room initiative would be an understatement, but I digress). I am grateful for her example of love and care in all the tasks that she has her hands on, and her example of what it means to love people well, being the hands and feet of Jesus in her own community.
I am grateful that my team sees my strengths and encourages me in different roles. I am grateful that my community trusts me with their requests and desires for pants of a certain size, or a pair of shoes that they need. And I am grateful for all the clothes that are given to us from various places, and that they could be used in a way that springs forth love and dignity.
It would mean so much to me if you were able to partner financially with The Dale to support my role within this ministry. There are a number of ways to do this, including CanadaHelps, PAR, or cheque. Please reach out to me if you would like more information on partnering with me in this way. Thanks for your support!