Clothing and hygiene items donated by the community are used by those experiencing homelessness in times of need
Imagine owning the clothes on your back and nothing else. Let that sink in for a moment and how that would make you feel.
What would you do? Where would you go? Who would you call for help?
It happens to people entering an unfortunate chapter in life without a place to call home. That is where St. John’s Ministries enters with emergency shelter during that transition to stability. We also have the necessities in its donation room to ease the stress.
Items such as: A pair of boots, used pair of jeans, winter jackets, clean socks, toothbrushes, deodorant, and soap. Hundreds of items are donated by community members each year. Almost all donations come without asking and from the goodness of each donor’s heart.
However, for those individuals who own what they are wearing, that donated clean pair of underwear and shampoo makes a lasting impact.
“I have personally seen a man ring the doorbell at shelter with nothing except what he had on and his wallet,” said Steve Schauer, director of community engagement. “It was disheartening to see the situation he was in. We were able to get him a new set of clothing so he could clean up and start over. The donation room is a key component to our operations.”
It happens like clockwork as the seasons change and those with compassion want to help. As the weather turns colder more winter items are donated in various sizes and for men and women. Then as the summer months approach, neighbors begin to drop off shorts, t-shirts, and tennis shoes.
“It’s amazing to see the support from the community towards those who are struggling,” Schauer said. “What is incredible is the work behind the scenes by our dedicated volunteers. They selflessly give of their time to sort, process, and help distribute each item when needed or requested.”
Dozens of volunteers choose the donation room at the Men’s or Women’s Shelter as their preferred area of volunteering expertise. They see the plethora of items pour in throughout the year and watch it be worn within days.
“It’s important to know that your gently used hoodie or new pair of shoes you donated, are of great use to someone experiencing homelessness,” added Schauer. “I am always humbled by the generosity of those in our community. It becomes emotional seeing someone who is struggling be brought to tears knowing they are cared for.”
If you would like to donate items, please visit one of our three monthly wish lists. Each month these lists are updated to reflect what is needed most for our guests, at shelters, and daytime resource centers.