We Are About Relationships
From Lisa Stuckey and Shelly Bleistein, co-chairs of Christ’s Closet
Wow, what a weekend it was! On July 20th and 21st, our congregation opened the doors of Christ’s Closet, our clothing giveaway to those in need here in Franklin, Williamson County, and its surrounding area. On the day we opened to our ministry partners, we hosted representatives from Open Table, Habitat for Humanity, the Prison Ministry, Franklin Special School District, and other local agencies who shopped for those they serve.
On Saturday, we opened our doors to those we had invited through our contact with local agencies that serve those in need. We contact the agencies, and the agencies distribute flyers to people who truly have a need for clothing. Doubts crept in on Friday night. Have we contacted enough agencies? Have the right people been reached? Will people come? Well, that doubt was quickly put to rest when we pulled into the parking lot Saturday at 6:10 am and saw cars were already in the parking lot as people waited for Christ’s Closet to begin at 7 am!
As always, our guests were grateful. We heard many thank yous as they headed home. One mom shared that she had injured her leg at work and wasn’t able to get to work as much as she needed. Until Christ’s Closet, she just wasn’t sure how she was going to get her son’s school clothes. A woman, who recently became a single mom, called Christ’s Closet a blessing and a miracle. Another mother was heard telling her children to say, “Thank you, Jesus!” because of the clothing they were able to find. She even remarked, “I’m a happy mom now!” It’s comments like these that show that the Spirit is moving among us, allowing us to help those around us by showing them God’s love.
This evidence of love starts when so many of our congregation and their friends donate bag after bag of clothing. It continues as children, youth, and adults give of their time to sort all of those clothes. Yes, even many of the Choir Camp children helped us sort through clothing, shoes, bags, and hangers. Then on the day of the giveaway, many of our congregation were amazing hosts to our guests, serving as personal shoppers who helped our guests around our “store.” Others greeted our guests and notified guests when it was their turn to shop. Still others organized clothing until shoppers were ready to leave and helped our guests to their cars with their selections. Without this small army who served graciously, with smiles on their faces and Christ in their hearts, we would not have been able to host our nearly 400 guests, 100 more than last year, giving away 85% of the clothing donated! The remaining clothing will be brought to Nicaragua, given to Graceworks, and used by those served at the Refuge Center, Room in the Inn, My Friend’s House, and Miriam’s Promise.
Christ’s Closet even caught the eye of someone from Seattle! You see, she was coming to Nashville for the Gospel Music Workshop of America for its annual conference. Each year, those attending serve the community they are visiting in some way. This year, one of the leaders wanted to have women who were attending bring an item of clothing for those in the community trying to re-enter the workforce. When she did a web search, she found Christ’s Closet (Thanks, Communications Committee!). After contacting us, she and others attending the workshop sent us 4 boxes of donations; one dress she tells us was donated by a woman from Paris! God does truly work in mysterious ways.
Four years ago, Christ’s Closet was a seed of an idea, created and nurtured by Robbin Cross and Kathy Cavanaugh because they thought it might serve a need in our community. Our calculations estimate that Christ’s Closet has served nearly 1000 people in that time period. We’d say Robbin and Kathy were right!