PITTSBURGH – Items ranging from clothes to small appliances, can be found at The Community Clothes Closet in New Kensington.
The nonprofit is celebrating its 10th anniversary in December and has become a staple in the community, especially for those struggling after a house fire or going through a rough patch.
The clothes on the many racks are open to anyone in need at the Community Clothes Closet, located at St. Joseph’s Church in New Kensington. But the association offers much more than clothes.
“So we have a lending library, we have a place where everyone can sit and have a cup of coffee and a cup of tea. We have housewares, ”said Christina Discello, director of Community Clothes Closet.
Discello came up with the idea 13 years ago when she worked at a local school and noticed that the students needed clothes for the interviews. But she quickly realized that the need was much greater and opened the closet to the whole community 10 years ago under Mt. Saint Peter’s Parish, which also works with St. Joseph’s Church.
Since the start of the pandemic, the need for this program has increased. It only works thanks to volunteers and donations.
“I see this definite need in the community,” said Patty Stone, who has volunteered for nine months.
About 25 volunteers come out several times a week to help organize donations and put them on the shelves.
“We see maybe around 80 to 100 people a week, which is a lot of people in four hours,” Discello said. “We operate strictly on donations and volunteers, and we never know what we’re going to get. We have released some very beautiful high-end clothes.
Items come at a nominal price, or you pay what you can. Discello says pricing has been encouraged by customers. The most expensive items are the $ 3 winter coats.
“I think people need to feel a little bit worthy because they came here and bought clothes,” Discello said. “They came here and bought a household item they need. It is not a handout.
Robin Richards, a grandmother, says no one should be ashamed of coming here because times are tough and everyone needs help.
“A lot of families don’t have warm clothes or the little things to keep them alive,” said Robin Richards of Arnold.
In the spring, all winter clothing will be distributed and all that remains will go to St. Vincent De Paul stores.
If you would like to donate your items, you can drop them off at 1129 Kenneth Avenue, New Kensington, PA during business hours, which are currently Mondays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The community locker room is closed for the holidays and will reopen on January 3.