For the past two years, more than 200 families from Tweed Heads, NSW, have been clothing their children without having to compromise their already tight budget. “Kids grow very fast. You buy one thing today and in a month’s time they have grown out of it. For many families that is a huge waste of money,” explains Constance Haupt. She is the coordinator of God’s Closet, an Adventist Community Services initiative that collects and distributes used clothing for children.
The idea for the project was born just over two years ago, however initially Constance was reluctant. Even though she genuinely wanted to do something for her community, she knew how much work it would involve. “Yet I decided to go for it, and God has been taking all the obstacles out of the way,” she says explaining that this is not her project, but God’s.
There is a lot of work involved before every shopping event. “We ask for donations on the Facebook Page, and I’ve got a bin at my local Day Care Centre. We sort [the clothes] about a week before the event and put them in boxes by different sizes. Once we’ve sorted through the clothes, we meet on a Saturday night before the event to lay all the tables and clothing out,” explains Erin Haupt, one of the volunteers.
The project is operated by a team formed entirely of volunteers. This means that the God’s Closet is a non-profit initiative, and with only a $1 entry fee, families can come and select from clothes on tables sorted by size that range from 0000 to 14 years.
More than clothes
David and his family went to a recent shopping event and on top of the clothing they purchased, he and his family also benefited from other services provided. “We came along on a Sunday morning, for God’s Closet, and filled a big bag of clothes for 1 dollar, and my kids had a little check up with the doctor and the dentist.”
Since the beginning of 2019, the project has partnered with Health in Kind, a not-for-profit organisation that provides wholistic healthcare support to communities in need. With the partnership, every free shopping event also offers free health services such as GP consultation, dental checks, health education, blood pressure, hearing checks, mental health support and naturopath services by health and medical professionals.
Sanitarium Health Food Company have also been supporting the project by donating cereal and breakfast drinks. “They send us donations of Weetbix and Up&Go for each event so that we can provide some food for the families too,” says Constance.
As a nurse and a Christian, Constance has a lengthy background in caring for people in need, and this is what God’s Closet is all about. “It takes a lot of money to clothe children. When you’ve got multiple children and you’re struggling financially, it just takes a little of the load off. So we are here to meet the needs of our community,” says Erin.
There are currently three God’s Closet projects functioning in New South Wales. If you would like to contribute with donations or by volunteering, the God’s Closet team can be reached through their Facebook Page @GodsClosetTweedHeads or you can contact Adventist Community Services at nnsw.adventist.org.au/acs.
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