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Church meets clothing needs

Open Door Church of Suffolk hosted a clothes giveaway on Saturday for the start of the school year.

For the past eight years, Open Door Church has held a clothes drive on the third weekend of August. In a typical year, this would come just in time as children are back to school and some families cannot afford to go shopping for new clothes.

“When planning this, we were not sure if kids were going back to school this year,” said Tisha Kincaid, the organizer of this event. “Even if they don’t go back, the kids are still growing and still in need. I’m happy we can do this for our community, especially at this time.”

Throughout the year, members of the church store their outgrown clothes for this giveaway. At the beginning of August, Open Door starts collecting the gently used items. The donations include clothes for all four seasons, shoes, dresses, suits, hats, purses and gloves. Volunteers sort the items by size to make “shopping” easier. Everything not taken is donated to local thrift stores.

“We started this eight years ago as a back-to-school event for the families at our church,” said Pastor Kelly Peaks. “As time when on, we started adding adult clothes, too, and then opened it to the public.”

With COVID-19 setting restrictions on gathering and other events, Open Door was not sure if it would host it this year, but they felt compelled to find a way.

“There is a great need this year with the impact of COVID,” said Peaks. “Many people are out of work or are working fewer hours. We needed to take this opportunity to show that we are committed to the community and to provide something good.”

Open Door Church took many precautions while hosting the giveaway. They asked that children not come to keep numbers down, since they only allowed 30 people in the room at a time. Masks were required, and hand sanitizer was available at the door.

“Everyone is hurting in many ways,” said Peaks. “Hurting economically, hurting socially, hurting spiritually. We just want to be here to ease their fears and their worries and let them know they are not alone.”