Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Works with Community to Help Clothe Michigan’s Needy for Winter

IMG_9101Last week, three semi-trucks carrying about 108,000 pounds of clothes were sent to South East Michigan from Deseret Industries, an arm of the Welfare Operations of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Deseret Industries operates a series of thrift stores throughout the western USA, similar to Salvation Army stores, which provide recycled low-cost goods to the community, and work training and employment opportunities for vocational and transitional job training needs. The clothes sent were surplus form those thrift stores.IMG_9100

IFLC’s Meredith Skowronski went to help at the annual October event to help Michigan families get ready for winter.

IMG_9098“I thought that it would be a good way for me to give back to the community- I’ve always enjoyed working to help others in need,” she said of sorting and distributing the 70,000 pounds of clothes that were unloaded into LDS chapels and distributed to needy families by church and community volunteers in Farmington Hills, Southfield, Dearborn, Roseville, and Flint last Friday and Saturday. The remainder was donated to Salvation Army and St. Vincent de Paul under partnership arrangements that provide for year-round cooperation between CJC-LDS and these organizations in helping needy families.

IMG_9102“It was really warm. Everybody who came in was friendly,” said Skowronski. “It was very energetic and lively and fun.”

The clothes, which arrive in large bales, are sorted into categories, like kids’ clothes, women’s clothes, shoes, hats, etc. Recipients, who were told about the event through blasts to schools and agencies that help community members who are indigent or homeless, received large garbage bags to fill with clothes.
Skowronski was sorting and hanging up coats.

“It was a never-ending flow of people. As fast as you could hang them, they were coming off the rack,” said Skowronski, who noted that the crowd was highly diverse.IMG_9099

This is the fifth year of the event. Volunteers come from the LDS and other churches and the participating agencies and schools. It all happens without a single dollar changing hands. Testament to the power of volunteerism.

“It was neat working in the church because of their dedication to outreach and service,” said Skowronski. “I will definitely be back next year.”