Northwest NEWS

December 7, 1998

Valley Special

Grace Church's Clothing Resource Center helps kids get ready for school

by Rev. Whitney Jones DeVine, special to the Valley View

   DUVALL--Fall is in full swing, as is the rhythm of life for hundreds of children in the Riverview School District. Part of the reality of life in school these days is the importance of feeling good about what you wear.

   Most kids have the opportunity to go shopping with their parents and pick out new school clothes as the school year begins. Those clothes will not directly determine their success in school, but indirectly affect a child's self-esteem, which, in turn, affects their performance in school.

   For a number of children, there was no money in the family's budget this year for new clothes, or even for new "used clothes." For those who fit in that category, the Clothing Resource Center (CRC) of Duvall was there to help. A ministry of Grace Episcopal Church for four years now, the CRC provided new and used clothes to over 60 children in the Riverview School District this fall.

   The families who took part in this program were referred to the CRC by ECEAP, Headstart, school counselors or the Carnation Multi-Service Center. The families themselves determined whether they needed the help offered. Each family participating was interviewed for sizes and preferences. They received two new outfits and varying amounts of quality used clothing. New socks and underwear were a part of every package.

   Each child got to pick out new shoes from Famous Footwear in North Bend. Coats, jackets, and hand-knitted hats and gloves were distributed as they were available.

   The CRC was funded this year by grants from the Riverview School District PTAs, the Episcopal Charities Appeal, St. Thomas Church in Medina, Church of the Resurrection in Bellevue, and several individual donors. All of the money went directly into clothing purchases.

   All of the used clothing came from clothing drives at the schools and elsewhere. Members of Grace Church put in lots of volunteer hours washing, mending, sorting, shopping, and delivering clothing. Organization was a big challenge since the Church has no building of its own and operated the CRC out of an already packed garage.

   The CRC is at a turning point this year. Much of the credit for its efforts over the last four years goes to Carol Price, a member of Grace Church. Carol and her family moved away at the end of the summer. Grace Church would like very much to continue this great work and is looking for someone in the community who would like to be part of the Church family and oversee this ministry.

   The work is primarily in the late spring and summer months. The Church can offer several willing volunteer helpers, but needs a volunteer director. They also need a space in which to sort and store clothes from May clothing drives until September when they are delivered.

   Anyone who would like to help in any way should call The Rev. Whitney Jones DeVine at 788-7335.