At the time, Viel said, the goal was to provide children with three school outfits they “wouldn’t be ashamed of.” Then, she said, the women realized there was a greater need for clothing for working adults.
The group also offered clean, working items such as lamps, dishes, books, bedding, and toys that mostly were donated from garage sales, she said. On average, 100 families and 300 people, were served per month, receiving 1,700 articles. The depot was open four days a week.
Viel remembers one day when a man who was attending a wedding said he had a suit, shirt, tie and shoes. But he needed one pair of black socks. The volunteers searched the vast inventory and located one pair of black socks.
Another time, she said, a boy with mental disabilities came into the depot and he was given a jacket.
“He was overwhelmed,” Viel said.
When he was about to leave, he tried to give the jacket back.
“It’s yours to keep,” he was told.
“We were always blessed,” said Viel, who added most of the Church Women United members are olderand dealing with health issues.
Viel said the church, located at 2709 McGee Ave., is going through a major remodeling and dealing with mold issues. She said all of the Clothing Depot items are stored in the church and she’s unsure what condition they may be in next year. She said the organization wouldn’t feel comfortable giving away the items next year.