A midtown Columbus clothing bank hopes to lift spirits during the COVID-19 pandemic by showing love and kindness through distributing free clothing items and shoes.
The Love & Kindness Community Clothing Bank, located inside the Georgia Training Center building at 1721 13th Avenue, provides clothing and other outreach services by appointment. It has recently added walk-in hours to assist those in need.
Midtown resident Carolyn Sims received five pairs of pants, five tops, shoes, socks, a matching hat and glove set, scarf, and personal hygiene items during a recent visit.
“I really appreciate it because right now it’s really at a time that I really need it,” Sims said.
Sims said the clothing bank is close enough to her home that she can walk to it, and praised clothing bank director Renea Dickerson for her welcoming spirit.
“She’s so sweet,” Sims said. ”I don’t take to people that much but she’s a go-getter. This is a keeper here,” she said, hugging Dickerson.
Dickerson said the clothing bank can serve between 10 and 60 people per week. More residents now are asking for help as the impact of the pandemic broadens.
Some need a coat for their child, she said. Others ask for a pair of shoes, or clothing for a job interview.
“COVID has caused everyone to come out of their comfort zone and say ‘Hey I need help,’” Dickerson said.
Other outreach efforts
The clothing bank opened its first location on Morris Road in April 2019 but temporarily closed in early 2020 as the pandemic worsened, Dickerson said. It reopened in September 2020 at its current location.
Letisha Rice, owner and director of the Georgia Training Center, has donated the space used by the clothing bank. She said it’s a good fit and clothing bank clients can benefit from the center’s services as well.
For example, the center’s free-to-use computer lab draws people looking for a job, and those same people often need clothing for a job interview.
“Just being in conjunction with someone that does that type of outreach we found to be very helpful,” Rice said.
The Georgia Training Center also offers courses for a fee, such as medical training classes, DUI and driver improvement classes, and home health aide and personal care assistant courses
“We’re here for the community,” Rice said. “I moved back to Columbus from Atlanta to do what God is calling me to do and that’s to serve the community.”
Sims is among those who spend time at both the clothing bank and the training center during a visit. Before leaving, Sims joined Dickerson and Rice in prayer, then offered to help.
“If you need me to do any kind of volunteer work I’m just a step away,” Sims said.
Dickerson said they are always seeking clothing donations. The more they take in, the more they can give out, she said.
“If you would wear it, if you would allow your children to wear it, if your mom would wear it, then we’ll take it,” she said. “These clothes go back out to children, and they go back out to men and women who wear these clothes on job interviews, who wear these clothes to work… They wear these school and so make sure you’re giving things that you know God would be pleased with you giving.”
Dickerson said they’re also in need of a larger space for the clothing bank.
“We actually need a bigger building so if there’s a philanthropist who would like to offer us a bigger building we would certainly love to take your call because we’ve outgrown this one as you can see, but we make it work,” Dickerson said.