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The news is full of stories of people who are using foodbanks, but our next Parish Unsung heroes show that it is not just food that is in short supply. This time we have the great team at St Mary’s, Alton who run a clothes bank.
What is your Parish
St Mary’s, Alton
What organisation do you support?
Alton Clothes Bank
Where is it based?
St Mary’s Church Hall, Normandy St, Alton
What do they do?
We take in donations of clothes and are open to anyone to come and take them at no cost.
Why did you choose to join them?
A group of us decided it was a good idea for two reasons. Firstly, we would be able to help those in need, linking up services in the area such as the Foodbank and Community Cupboard. Secondly, we are trying to live more sustainably and recycle more in the spirit of Laudato Si.
How long have you been involved with the organisation?
We started the Clothes Bank in November of last year, posting items on Facebook. Very quickly we realised that we had a lot of items, we then opened the Church Hall every Tuesday morning for people to come and take what they wanted.
What is your role?
The team set up the hall, speak to visitors and clear away. We have made connections to other services in the town and can sometimes advise visitors of these.
Do you need any specialist skills or training?
No, just a desire to help and live more simply.
How often do you do this?
Every Tuesday morning from 8.30. The doors open at 9-12 then we clear everything away.
What do you enjoy about doing this?
We have enjoyed meeting all the different visitors and getting to know those who come regularly. People have been very generous and we were recently able to respond to a request for clothes for Ukrainian refugees in Poland. We have also helped with items for refugees in our area, which has been great. Knowing that we have helped so many in such a short time and saved these items from landfill has also been a source of pleasure.
If you had one wish to help this organisation, what would it be?
That it wouldn’t be needed but since it is then the continued support of the parish and our parish priest.
How can others join or help your organisation (please include contact details and website if they have one)?
We have a Facebook page called Alton Clothes Bank. This is a private group for people to join and where members can advertise their own items for others to have. Any volunteers can always contact us there or visit us on Tuesdays.
If your church has a Parish Unsung hero, please get in touch to share their story at firstname.lastname@example.org. You could just inspire someone!
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