Hope Closet brings joy throughout the year
Story by Roger Watson
The Hope Clothes Closet has been providing a little bit of Christmas all year round.
The mission project of Heritage Baptist Church has been providing gifts of clothing, household necessities and personal care products to families in need the past two years.
“It’s all about helping bring a little bit of joy,” church member and Hope Closet organizer Ann Simpson said of the mission project. “If you dress well, you feel good. So, I think that’s bringing a little bit of joy to people when they look good, or have something new. It’s to bring a little spark of joy that we can have in their lives.”
Since beginning in October of 2018, Hope Closet has provided clothes to 378 area families and given out 69 Bibles as part of the ministry. The mission began primarily to provide clothes to abused women who come to Madeline’s House in Farmville. Simpson said many of the women and children arrive at the center for abused spouses with only the clothes on their backs.
“We usually say a prayer with them before they leave. We try to lift their spiritual needs up too,” Simpson said of the families the closet has helped.
The closet is set up like a small boutique. Guests visit by appointment only and shop for items they need. The closet began with only women’s items but quickly expanded to men’s and children’s items.
“People started giving men’s clothes and children’s clothes, so it has just boomed,” Simpson said. “It’s good, because there are a lot of needs out there.”
The clothes come from a variety of donors from within the church and outside the area as well.
“Word is getting out more, and we’re getting more things,” Simpson said.
The closet has also had free giveaways at area subsidized housing complexes, and just recently, a Saturday giveaway in the church parking lot provided clothes to 94 families.
Simpson brought the idea of the Hope Clothes Closet to church leaders after she said she was called to begin the project.
“It was a nudge, like, ‘You need to do this,’” Simpson said of her calling to start the ministry. “The idea wouldn’t get out of my head until I pursued it.”
Simpson said the ministry is not just about her. She has gotten help from lots of people to make the closet a reality.
“The Lord has called me to do this. I have gotten lots and lots of support in this church that has helped us do that,” Simpson said. “I’m not alone in this. It’s just been a blessing to the church and brought us all together.”
The church came on board quickly, providing space for the project, building racks and donating clothes to get the project off the ground.
“We touch a lot of lives,” she said. “We never know what seeds we are planting.”
Simpson said Hope Closet is in good shape with clothes now but will begin soliciting clothes and other items again in the spring. A bin for donations to the closet is outside the church fellowship hall.