The Clothing Closet at Centralia First United Methodist Church
offers FREE clothing for Men, Women and Children on
Tuesday mornings from 9:30 to 11:00 A.M.

History of the Clothing Closet

The Clothing Closet at our church was started 50 years ago by Shirley Dishinger. It started as a food pantry and was housed in the basement kitchen.  Migrant workers would come in for food and other types of assistance.

Shirley realized there was a need for clothing as well so she contacted Beulah Ambuehl, a member of our church, who worked at Penny's and she introduced her to the manager Pete Davis.  On Saturday evenings Shirley and her husband Carl went to Penny's to pick up returned or slightly damaged clothing. They organized the clothes, mended them if needed, sewed on missing buttons, then took them to the church on Sunday or Monday.  

The word started to spread that there was free clothing available and more people started visiting the clothing closet.  

Clara Rouse from Field grade school would call when she had students who needed clothes and Shirley would take bags of clothes to her.  St. Mary's hospital also received clothing from the closet for newborn babies to wear home.  

At that time they couldn't use the youth room so Ronnie Vaughn with permission from the Administrative Board fixed up the room that is used now.  He fixed shelves and got racks from Penny's.  They were opened on Tuesday and Thursday and had 30-35 people go through.  As word spread people from our church and people in the community started donating clothes.  They appreciated the fact that all clothing was free.

Soon nursing homes and schools started requesting sweaters, bathrobes, gloves and hats.  If they didn't have enough of these items Shirley was allowed to take money from her budget to purchase what was needed.  Lisa Koger, manager of Maurice's, contacted Shirley and started donating clothes.  Also the Lutheran Church in Centralia made donations.

After 35 years working as head of the Clothing Closet Shirley retired. Irlene Vogel took over for her and later Annette Courtney.  Jody Gibson is now the coordinator and with help of volunteers offers free clothing to the community each Tuesday morning!

©2021 - Rev. Sidney Davis, Jr.