Churches give away free items to community

Published 12:03 am Monday, August 10, 2015

NATCHEZ — Cleaning out a closet can be a chore.

However, to some churches, that chore yields fruitful results.

“Once you clean out your closet, you need to give it (items) away,” said Tangyell Giles, a volunteer at Melrose Avenue Church of Christ.

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About three or four times a year, the church invites people to browse clothes and other items which have been donated by community and church members.

A quick look inside revealed everything from fancy dresses to school uniform shirts.

“We have a lot of selection,” Giles said.

And, unlike most shops, everything is free. There’s also no limit on the amount of items shoppers can get, and people continue to donate.

“Sometimes we have boxes sitting outside our door,” Giles said.

The doors stay open from 6 to 11 a.m., but Giles said most of the shoppers come in early and it gets slower as the day progresses.

Keisha Green, another volunteer, said the church renews the inventory by giving older items to local charities, such as Catholic Charities.

The church’s method of keeping the inventory new is mirrored by Beverly Raines, lay president at Zion Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

The church runs Sarah’s Closet, a program similar to the one run by Melrose Avenue Church, which is open to the public every third Saturday in the month, like this upcoming Saturday.

Raines also said most of the customers come in early in the morning when she first opens at 8 a.m.

“Normally people are waiting when I get here,” Raines said.

Also like Melrose Avenue Church’s program, there is no item limit.

“I believe people will take what they need,” Raines said.

But before clothing goes on the rack, Raines said it has to be checked for any damage though.

“We want to give away good items,” Raines said.

Raines enjoys the project, mostly because of the impact it has.

“This is our way of making a difference in the community,” Raines said.

Melrose Avenue Church of Christ is located on 126 Melrose Avenue in Natchez. It can be reached at 601-446-9044.

Zion Chapel AME Church is located on 228 N Dr. ML King Jr. St., Natchez and can be reached at 601-442-1396.