More than 6,000 pieces of clothing were offered to those in need in Denison when St. Luke’s Episcopal Church held its Manna Clothing Ministry distribution this weekend. The giveaway is held three times a year, in hopes of providing quality clothes to those who need it most.
“This ministry is aimed at the homeless and low-income families and individuals in order to provide them with needed clothes,” Minister Manager Carol Singletary said.
When the doors of Kofeldt Hall opened Friday, clothing of all types, fashions and styles filled the 2,000-square-foot room. More than 170 people were lined up outside the door for the opening of the event, organizers said.
“We’ve got a little of everything here,” Singletary said. “Across the street at the duplex, I have a Giorgio Armani outfit waiting to be given out.”
Singletary said the other distributions are held near the beginning of the school year and in November before winter. However, Singletary said the ministry is also opening a permanent clothes closet across the street that will be open year round to assist with clothing needs.
While the distribution included clothing of all sizes, Singletary said donations of plus-sized clothing and men’s clothing are always in high demand. In addition to adult clothing, organizers said the event also included children’s clothes, with 35 bags of children’s items donated by Tenderwear Children’s Shop in Sherman.
For those on a limited income, items like clothing may be difficult to get, Singletary said. While there are assistance programs for other needs, she said there are still gaps in services for basic needs like a set of clothes.
“There are a lot of people here in Denison who need this,” she said. “If you think of people who are on disability, they can get with housing and rent assistance, they can get Medicaid, they can get food stamps. However, there is little out there for clothes.”
Among those scouting out clothes Friday was DiAnna Nix, who was trying to find clothing that would fix a six-foot, three inch 18-year-old. Nix said that buying for children and teenagers on a budget can be difficult as they still haven’t finished growing, and clothes are often outgrown.
“I found men’s suits that look absolutely amazing,” she said. “I think all of this is absolutely wonderful.”
In addition to the clothing drive, the ministry also operates a food pantry and meal program through the church. Singletary said the program has operated at St. Luke’s for five years and operated at other churches for three years before that.
“When I arrived in Denison a little over seven years ago, we did a community needs assessment,” the Rev. Don Perschall, representing St. Luke’s, said. “We discovered that Denison needed three things in particular — a good food pantry, a free clothing program and a meals program. We immediately set out to meet these needs, all of which is in response to Jesus’ command in Matthew 25. We believe that the measure of a Christian is found in Jesus’ words: ‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments.’”