When they saw a need, several people from the Gardner Presbyterian Church stepped in to fill it.
Although it started as a project with the help of the church, the Joy Community Closet hopes the store, which sells gently-used clothing and bedding, will serve the entire community.
“We didn’t have anything like this in the community,” Cindy Rollf, volunteer coordinator for Joy Community Closet, said. “It’s like-minded people who saw a need.”
Rollf said anyone in the community is welcome to shop at the store or to volunteer. Joy Community Closet opened last fall with a goal to do outreach to the community.
They accept used items and resell them at a nominal cost or occasionally, the closet will give away items at no cost. Rollf said they give clothing away to those who have a referral from the Multi-Service Center, an area pastor or one of the schools.
Rollf said prior to opening the shop, the volunteers had been storing items in the church.
“I had basically a stock pile before we opened,” she said. “We had an entire room full of clothes at the church, and then when we opened we started getting tons and tons of stuff.”
The community, she said, has been very generous.
Staffed and organized by about a dozen volunteers, the closet has limited hours. The store is open from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays; from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays; and from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.
“We would like to expand hours, but we’ve got to have the volunteers to do that,” Rollf said. “I don’t want to wear the volunteers we have now thin.”
Currently, volunteers are collecting formal dresses. Rollf said no one should have to miss prom, because they can’t afford a dress.
“Right now, we’ve collected probably a couple hundred prom dresses,” Rollf said. “Some of them, I don’t even know if they’ve been worn.”
In addition to collecting formal attire and accessories, the group is also seeking volunteers who may be interested in helping the closet expand.
“We really just want to get out there and help people that have a need,” Rollf said. “And we really want to bring the community together in doing that.”