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Franklin Cooperative Ministry’s Clothing Closet reopens

Franklin Cooperative Ministry staff and volunteers have returned to the clothing closet and, while things remain different due to the pandemic, they agree it is good to be “home.”

“While it was a difficult decision to temporarily close, we did what many businesses and churches did,” FCM Director Margaret Anne Smith said in a news release. “We serve a vulnerable population, and doing our best to limit exposure has been, and remains, a priority to which we are all dedicated.”

Downtime was put to good use, with staff and volunteers not only deep cleaning but completely revamping the space. Clear tote bins were added for non-hanging items so that shoppers can easily see what is available, and a dedicated board member volunteered his time building new shelves for shoes and baby diapers. 

The clothing closet now has three shopping spaces — one for children, one for women and one for men. 

“Cleaning out an unused office gave us room to shift men’s clothing, which freed up space to hang skirts and pants in the women’s clothing room,” Smith said. “Moving the items for men also gave us shelf space to have feminine hygiene products and adult incontinence items at the clothing closet instead of only at the main office. We’re very excited about how things came together.”

Franklin Cooperative Ministry’s clothing closet is located at 511 N. Main St. Donations are accepted on Monday mornings from 8-11:30 a.m. Shoppers are welcome on Friday mornings by appointment, and emergency needs are met on a case-by-case basis. 

Smith says that shoppers have been pleased with the changes, especially the increase in shopping days and fewer people shopping at one time. 

“We wanted to accommodate social distancing and increase confidentiality, and I feel that we have done that and done it well,” she said.

Smith added that she would like to expand hours at the clothing closet for both donations and shopping. 

If any individual or a group would like to help, contact Franklin Cooperative Ministry at 757-516-6322. The clothing closet is supplied by donations, and all items are provided at no cost to shoppers.