Photos and story by Mary Anne Funk
Anawim Christian Community receives clothing donations on a regular basis from community members throughout Oregon. The donations that come in help clothe the homeless community and those living in poverty.
Normally, the clothing donations make their way from the Red Barn at the Anawim Sanctuary into the community clothing room after they’ve been cleaned and sorted into sizes, gender, and seasonal wear. Then they’re distributed directly and freely to those in need of clothing as well as to other ministries who give directly to those in need. No one is charged for the clothes they receive. It is, in its truest form, a gift economy in full circle.
This year, thanks to the community’s spirit of giving, Anawim was blessed with an abundance of clothing donations for kids. It was a much needed blessing for the community that they serve.
With their clothing room now amply supplied for families, they began to look at what they could do with the surplus of clothing they received from the community. In the continuation of the ideals of a gift economy, Anawim decided to hold their very first free clothing give away event just in time for back to school.
Genevieve Cochran, a long time community volunteer and advocate for the homeless community, spearheaded the clothing giveaway after discussing, with Anawim Pastor Steve Kimes on what to do with the abundance of clothing donations that Anawim had received for children this year. In order to be ready for a back to school event, Genevieve only had five and a half weeks to bring it all together, which she noted could not have been done without her volunteers.
Event posters, social media and word of mouth were used to reach the public.
“Every time we have an event like this, especially when we do them the first time,” said Steve Kimes, Pastor of Anawim Christian Community, “I am always nervous about whether the community will respond to the need, and whether we will be able to communicate to those in need that we are available to help.” “In this event,” he went on to say, “it was a perfect storm, so to speak. We received ample donations and many people showed up to the event, showing both the need and the willingness to help.”
At the end of the event, Anawim donated the remaining clothes from the event to Bethel, the other church that shares their building. Bethel is gathering clothing and other supplies to send back home in Africa. Another great example of a gift economy in full circle.
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Anawim’s Clothing Room: Located in their Gresham location: 19626 NE Glisan
Hours: Wednesdays from 5 to 7 and Saturdays from 11am to 1pm.
All clothing is always free, no ID is necessary, and each family gets one set of clothes per person.
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