Leechburg Church Community Closet Marks 10 Years of Clothing for Those in Need
Pastor James Arter from Leechburg First Evangelical Lutheran Church saw the impact the church community closet has on families and individuals.
Years ago a young girl came with her father to buy clothes. She was so fascinated with the project’s mission that she later returned with her own clothes to donate.
âShe wanted to hang up the clothes on her own,â Arter said.
It was one of those moments that showed Arter and longtime volunteer Kathy Munko that the church was serving its purpose. Arter said he couldn’t believe how quickly time has passed since the church opened its community closet in April 2012.
âIt brought the church together,â he said.
The initiative aims to provide clothing to those in need at an affordable price. All items are 20 cents. The closet was open twice a year until 2015, when the church moved to open on the third Saturday of each month.
Arter said most of the calls the church has received have come from organizations helping a child in foster care or from grandparents raising children.
Proceeds from each month are donated to a nonprofit or local organization, Munko said. The church holds a meeting in January to choose places to receive donations. Profits went to the Leechburg Food Bank, the Leechburg Volunteer Fire Company, Lower Kiski Ambulance Services and more.
âWhen they buy clothes, they also give back to the community,â Munko said.
Articles are rotated to make sure everything is appropriate for the season. The clothes are organized by size and gender. Footwear, handbags, and winter essentials like gloves and hats are available for purchase.
An estimated 20 volunteers come to help sort clothes and keep the closet open on Saturdays, Munko said.
âWe all love what we do because we help people,â she said.
Arter said the church saw a spike in people visiting the community closet in November. He said 2,000 items were sold. The closet stays full as donations are still pouring in, he said. Children’s clothing and coats are the most sought after items.
“We expect a great turnout at this time,” he said.
Donations of clean and lightly used clothing, handbags, shoes, coats and winter items can be deposited in the basket on the church porch.