On Wednesday July 15th I helped at the Clothesbank giveaway at St. Joseph’s Church in Bracknell.  This was the third giveaway and by far the busiest one of all, we were able to provide clothing for 61 children and 34 adults.  What a blessing, what a privilege. Praise God.

socksYou may be interested to know a bit about the whole initiative, not least because you may have been kind enough to donate clothes earlier this year.  The Clothesbank is coordinated by a group of ladies from Binfield Church lead by Gisele who is the wife of the vicar there.  Volunteers come from other local churches as well.

The day starts at St. Marks Church Binfield loading the clothes into car boots and a large van (for which we are most thankful)and transporting them to St. Josephs. We unpack, set up and wait to welcome our clients.  There are many different reasons and circumstances that bring people to the Clothesbank..They need to have a voucher which they may have been given by the Foodbank, their GP, social worker or some other agency.  They are welcomed at the door and come in to be offered refreshments and have a chat to identify  the circumstance that has bought them to us. They then go to one of the tables where one of us will bring the appropriate boxes for them to choose from and this is another chatting opportunity. It really is a very sociable way to spend a morning. We usually plan to finish around lunchtime but are flexible if someone arrives later.  Not all volunteers stay for the whole session which is not a problem as any time given is a great help.  I always go straight to St. Josephs to help as I don’t lift the boxes.

The people we meet are often coping with difficult and testing situations in their lives and it is incredibly humbling to meet them and see just how positive they are and so grateful for the help they are receiving. Some clients bring young children with them and we have toys for them to play with and we even volunteer to give babies a cuddle!

I mentioned earlier that the clothes are organised in plastic boxes and this takes a lot of sorting.  We usually have a sorting session before every giveaway. The next one will be replacing the summer clothes with warmer clothes.

boxWe are very grateful for all clothes donated. Some clothes cannot be passed on though,  pyjamas, underwear and socks for example need to be new and  we would really appreciate any contributions of those especially for children of all ages.  Binfield Church held a Sock Sunday before the last giveaway where members of the congregation bought along new packs of socks. It was very successful.

If you feel you would like to help with the Clothesbank, either sorting or on the day itself we would love to see you.  Please get in touch with Gisele at Binfield Church or me Lyn Orriss , Mosaic Church.  Shirley from Bracknell Team Ministry will kindly pass on messages to me. The next Clothesbank giveaway is in October. .It really is a very rewarding, busy and sociable event and a chance to support people in a very positive way.