Clothing items ‘a blessing’ for those in need

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 28, 2014

Several agencies partner for event at Salisbury clinic
By Susan Shinn
For The Salisbury Post
“Today will never come again. Be a blessing . . . Be a friend.”

The message written in chalk on the side of the trailer said it all. That trailer houses a mobile clothing closet, and it was on site Saturday morning at the Community Care Clinic as part of a Neighbors Helping Neighbors event.
“This is a blessing,” said Marie Granford, who lives nearby. She carried a bag of clothing and shoes. She is battling cancer after a chemical exposure in the plant where she worked.
Still, she said, “God’s been so good to me. I got me some shoes. You all have a blessed day.”
Granford was one of 85 people who picked out 1,100 pieces of clothing and accessories during the event. They also received apples donated by Variety Produce in Rockwell and bottled water donated by participating groups: Community Care Clinic, Mount Tabor United Methodist Church and Prevent Child Abuse Rowan.
The event came together after Pastor Kris Mares of Mount Tabor received an email from Big MACC — the Mobile Accessories and Clothing Closet, provided by Open Hands Ministry of Lexington. The large trailer — full of clothing, shoes, belts, sheets and more — goes wherever it’s needed.
“The United Methodist Church is a connectional system,” Mares said, “and we try to help each other out.”
One of Mount Tabor’s members, Donna Wiseman, volunteers at the clinic and told employees about the opportunity. The clinic pulled in other local groups, said Jennifer Sullivan, operations manager.
“We had a line here at 9:15 this morning,” she said. The event took place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
At lunchtime, business was still steady. Revia Jones was looking for clothing for her grandchildren and went home with several bags full. One of her grandchildren, LaBron Johnson, 3, munched on an apple while his grandmother shopped.
In anticipation of Saturday’s event, the local agencies also collected clothing — 35 bags, according to Sullivan. Whatever wasn’t given away would be donated to the MACC unit, she added, to replenish its supply.
Farrell Floyd is a member of Bethany United Church in Lexington, where the Open Hands Ministry began. He drove the truck that hauled the trailer to the clinic. He was having a big time.
“It’s wonderful,” Floyd said. “I was 55 before I got saved. I’m trying to make up for lost time.”
Now 74, he seems to be doing just that.
Sisters Lisa Davis and Jamie Bell, members of Bethany UMC, staffed the trailer. Open Hands began as a weekly meal at church, Davis explained, but the congregation soon realized that the people who needed them were not near the church’s rural location.
The ministry moved to a new location at 822 W. Fifth St. in downtown Lexington, in the Lexington Church of God’s Ministry Center. It serves a free meal every Monday night. The MACC is on site the second and fourth Monday of each month from 5 to 7 p.m.
“People donate clothes like crazy,” Davis noted.
It’s a good thing.
Since the MACC program began a year ago, her sister said, they’ve given away 14,328 pieces of clothing and accessories.
Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.