Parishioners Support Waukee Community Closet
Waukee Community Closet seeks to benefit students and families in need within the Waukee Community School District and now all of Dallas County by accepting clothing and bedding donations and providing high-quality clothing (gently worn as well as new) and new bedding at no charge. By taking care of these basic necessities, it has been shown that students are better able to focus on school without feeling self-conscious about their lack of clean or well-fitting clothes. Waukee Community Closet is located at 77 NE Carefree Lane in Waukee just north of Hickman Road near Saints and Los Tres Amigos. To learn more about this local charity, we visited with Jeannie Sheldon and Debbie Bates, parishioners who volunteer there.
Q. What does your normal volunteer activity include?
A. Volunteers are so busy here and we could always use more! We work in two-hour shifts, either sorting, hanging and displaying clothing donations or helping families with shopping. We partner with many other organizations, enlisting volunteers from the Girl Scouts, individual church groups, and Silver Cord students. The Juvenile Justice Department of Dallas County sends juveniles to volunteer as part of their probation and Waukee Parks and Rec has included the Closet in their Youth in the Parks program this summer, a camp designed to give kids a chance to learn about community betterment through volunteering. Even with all this great help, we ALWAYS need volunteers. Jeannie Sheldon
A. Everyone wants to make the shopping experience inviting and pleasurable for the customer. Keeping this in mind, time just flies by while sorting donated clothing. Generally, I help with sorting the clothing by size and type. All clothes are hung on hangers and placed on racks. Debbie Bates
Q. In a seemingly well-to-do suburb like Waukee, did it surprise you to find people in need?
A. The Closet serves all of Dallas County, not just Waukee but also Perry, Adel, and other Dallas County towns and the countryside. Even though there are many affluent families in Dallas County, there are also others who are new to this country, who are working low paying jobs or who have fallen on hard times because of unemployment or illness. About half of our clients are non-English speakers, many from African and Arab countries. Since our opening in January, we have served 159 families, the greater portion (2/3) of which are first time shoppers, not repeats. The Closet has been a welcome resource for 863 people who have received well over 8,000 items, not including coats, shoes, socks or underwear. This data does not include people we have helped under special circumstances. Jeannie Sheldon
A. It didn’t surprise me there are people in need in our community. There are many situations a person/family could find themselves in need of assistance, but they are too proud on the inside to let the outside see. Debbie Bates
Q. How does this organization differ from Goodwill?
A. Goodwill is a very valuable organization and certainly fills a need. At the Closet, we can only use new or gently used clothing and new bedding, Goodwill will accept less than perfect or outdated items.
At the Closet families can come every two months and take clothing without cost. They are invited to choose 12 items of clothing for each family member. In addition, they are also able to choose a coat for each family member, shoes, underwear and may help themselves to some of the more unusual items we receive, such as boxes of team t-shirt overruns.
In the spring, we were able to host the Prom Project in which select high school girls were able to receive a prom dress free of charge. We have Stacey’s Bridal to thank for partnering with us on this, offering new dresses alongside our beautiful donated ones. Jeannie Sheldon
A. You pay a dollar amount for what you want at Goodwill. There is no charge at the Waukee Community Closet. Debbie Bates
Hours that families can shop are:
1st Wednesday from 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm
2nd Tuesdays from 10:00 pm – 12:00 pm
3rd Mondays from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
4th Saturdays from 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
Q. How can parishioners donate clothing to this organization?
A. We welcome donations of new or gently used clothing for men, women and children as well as cash donations during these hours:
1st Wednesdays from 6pm – 8pm
2nd Tuesdays from 11pm – 1pm
3rd Mondays from 3pm – 5:30 pm
4th Saturdays from 8:30am – 10:30am
We use cash to buy the important things that are at times in short supply such as underwear, jeans of a particular size, coats, boots, etc. Supporters can also follow us on Facebook or check out our web site at waukeecloset.com where there is also a link to make cash donations and a listing of our hours. Anyone with questions is welcome to contact Cindy Torvik, our coordinator, at 515-490-8184. Jeannie Sheldon