It’s not every day that a ribbon cutting for a new clothing store opens in prayer, but The Clothing Closet in downtown Purcellville is no ordinary store. Like most second-hand clothing stores, it features new and gently used clothing, shoes and accessories for men, women and kids at affordable prices.
Because The Clothing Closet is one of a number of missions anchored in The Tree of Life Ministries (http://tolministries.org), it also offers free clothing to the needy based on a voucher program, and hopes to provide employment and volunteer experience to the marginalized, such as the elderly or special needs adults, says Paul Smith, executive director, Tree of Life Ministries.
Susannah D. Lee, TOL regional director for Purcellville, sees the store as an outreach of the ministries’ shelter branch which has organized large annual clothing giveaways in the spring and fall for a dozen years. They’ve been so popular, or so needful, that as many as 800 people have been served at any one event.
When the space became available in the historic Pancoast Building, the owners gave TOL first dibs on the storefront. “We had the vision to take our clothing ministry from being event-based to something where we could offer clothing year-round to those who need it,” Susannah said. Purchases from the general public help to fund the ministry.
To shop for free, all a family needs to do is call the store or TOL directly and apply for a voucher. There’s a short questionnaire about how many people are in the family and what their other needs might be, in part so the store’s team can keep an eye out for everyone’s appropriate sizes for their next seasonal visit. Then the family is scheduled for a shopping appointment when they have the store to themselves and can be fully outfitted for their needs by store manager Diane McDuffie or another store associate.
Lou Lou Boutiques supports the Closet with remnant merchandise though, “it’s not a consignment store,” Susannah explains. You wouldn’t know it from the outpouring of support the store received in donations in the month of June, which literally filled the racks with quality merchandise.
“Our goal is to help those in need through the love of Jesus Christ. That’s our mission and we are so happy to be open,” Susannah says. It’s a dream a dozen years in the making, she adds.
Shop Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 119 N 21st St. in Purcellville. See http://www.tolministries.org/theclothingcloset.html for more detail or visit them on Facebook as TOLtheclothingcloset.