Creating Stability Then and Now: MOM's Clothing Center
Truly a community program, the Clothing Center grew from the ideas and efforts of volunteers. At MOM’s annual Christmas dinner in 1999, Connie Ott, a long-time MOM volunteer, asked Dietrich Gruen, the Executive Director of MOM at that time, about the possibility of MOM offering a free clothing “store” for clients. Dietrich expressed interest but said they didn’t have the resources to hire someone to oversee it. Connie suggested that she take the lead and, after further discussions with MOM staff, set to work to create a volunteer-run “Clothing Closet.” A few months later on April 1, 2000, the Clothing Closet opened its doors for the first time.
The Clothing Closet was originally located in a small efficiency apartment in the back of MOM’s new offices on Hubbard Avenue. The program took off quickly as donations poured in and people in need of clothing also came in large numbers. From the beginning, families found winter clothing to stay warm, school clothes for growing children and business attire to wear to new jobs. The Clothing Closet also offered basic household items like sheets, blankets, towels and some kitchenware. All items were free—and have remained that way ever since.
As MOM grew and moved to new locations, the Clothing Closet did also. In 2003, the Clothing Closet relocated to the Distribution Center in Middleton Business Park. By 2007, the Clothing Closet was serving 180 households a year. In 2012, the name was changed to Clothing Center and it found its permanent home adjacent to the Food Pantry at its new location on Parmenter Street, which provided significantly more space.
Throughout these moves and changes, the Clothing Center has remained a completely volunteer-staffed enterprise. Around 50 volunteers help in the Clothing Center, sorting donations, arranging clothing so it can be easily located and staffing the Clothing Closet during open hours. The number of people visiting has also continued to grow. Last year alone, the Clothing Center distributed 127,000 pounds of clothing. While our Clothing Center is currently closed due to the COVID-19 emergency, we look forward to serving our community in the Clothing Closet in the future.
MOM’s Clothing Center in Action
MOM’s Clothing Center helps provide vital clothing and other household items to families and individuals in Middleton and West Madison. Here’s a note we recently received from a client:
“I want to thank you again for everything that you have done and that MOM has done to make sure that we have a place to live and have heat and that we have food and clothing. I don't even want to imagine where we might be if it hadn't been for you all.”
Help Us Celebrate 40 Years by Supporting the Clothing Center!
MOM has been able to help so many families in our community through the years because of your support. Your support now can ensure we can continue to help families in the future. You can join our Circle of Hope by making a monthly gift to sustain MOM’s efforts to end hunger and prevent homelessness. Donate $40 (or another amount) a month for our 40 Year Celebration.
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