BURWELL—For more than a decade the Burwell Clothing Closet has been serving people in need with all sizes of clothing, shoes, coats, and more in what volunteer Kathy Mann calls a “God driven” project. The clothing closet is open on Fridays from 1 to 4 p.m. and is located in the basement of the First Christian Church at 817 J. Street, Burwell, NE 68823.
Kathy Mann spoke with KCNI/KBBN in an interview explaining how the Clothing Closet began in March 2010 thanks to the inspiration and dedication of J.B. and Renee Sikes and the church’s congregation. Many volunteer hours of sorting and displaying clothes is required to keep the closet open to the public.
“We meet the needs of so many, such a variety of people,” Mann said.
Kathy Mann says the Clothing Closet is one “huge recycling project” and works with Keep Loup Basin Beautiful (KLBB) to make sure nothing goes to waste. According to the KLBB website, “using clothing and shoes more than once is a means of reducing waste and recycling. At the same time, the Clothing Closet is providing social and economic support to community members.”
“If some of it [clothing] is not good, it’s recycled. None of it goes to waste. When you really look at it, the Clothing Closet is a huge recycling project and it’s clothing recycling and it’s all free. It comes in free, it goes out free, and it’s all run by volunteer services,” Mann said.
Kathy Mann is a former teacher and member of the United Methodist Women. She also works with Keep Loup Basin Beautiful and got involved with the closet in 2013. She told KCNI/KBBN the closet takes in clothing donations of all sizes for men, women, and children. The Clothing Closet occupies the church basement and includes various rooms of clothing, shoes, knick-knacks, a Christmas room, bedding, and baby equipment. Mann says fellow volunteer and coordinator Sonja Wagner also runs a diaper and adult Depends program.
Volunteers from all the central Nebraska area help keep the closet in operation. Mann said all the clothing is sorted by hand, checked for stains and animal hair, organized by size and season, and said some items still have price tags on them and are often brand name.
Donations go to a good cause and if they are not used at the Clothing Closet, they are taken elsewhere: donations are sorted into bags and taken by the New Hope Assembly of God Church which runs the Toss Box ministry to collect clothing for the Lincoln People’s City Mission warehouse. From there clothing is bundled and shipped to Texas, Florida, and Canada, as well as third world countries where it is sold by people to help them make a living.
There are no requirements to utilize the Clothing Closet and everything is free. Enter the First Christian Church basement from the west side at the alley.
If you want to make a donation, you can take items on Fridays from 1-4 p.m. or leave at the Keep Loup Basin Beautiful RC&D office at 330 South Highway 11 in Burwell and leave donation on the porch. (Located by Trotters and the bowling alley, white school house with red roof.) The Clothing Closet is an affiliate of KLBB.
Call Kathy Mann at 308-214-0798 or Sonja Wagner at 308-750-7085 with any questions.
Clothing Closet numbers for the last year:
The Clothing Closet served 2,121 shoppers
174 volunteers sorted 32,025 pounds of clothing and shoppers took 20,289 pounds
Shoppers came from 30 Nebraska counties and from 6 different states
Average 8-10 counties per week such as Garfield, Loup, Wheeler, Custer