VICTOR, NY — The Community Clothes Closet, known for providing clothes, linens and shoes for those in need, will be moving at the end of August.
According to an email sent to the Town of Victor, the shop, which is affiliated with the Victor United Methodist Church on 106 E. Main St. will be moving from the church’s basement to the former Parsonage House located on the premises beginning Aug. 22 and continuing through Sept. 7, to re-open Sept. 8, from 9 a.m. to noon.
According to Karen Hansen, founder and director of the closet, the move was spurred by the availability of greater space at the parsonage house and better accessibility.
“It’s more convenient to get to. In the basement you had to get down steep, narrow stairs. It was difficult for some people, including me,” Hansen said — while the new location is “bright and airy, warmer. It’s just more convenient for space.”
Hansen said the closet wouldn’t be able to accept any more clothing during the move, as the all-volunteer staff would be busy moving from one location to another.
Hansen founded the Community Clothes Closet on Feb. 7, 2018 after a visit to a local food cupboard in the winter of that year. After seeing several of the attendees without suitable outerwear, she thought someone should do something.
“t just punched me in the stomach. You, you should do something. I went back to the church and knew what it was” she should do to help the community, Hansen said.
“I told [former Pastor David Underwood] about the clothes closet; he took my hand, took me to the big vestibule, and said do it here,” she said. “We set up racks, it took a week to set up and open. That’s the story of how it started. Because of a pastor’s challenge. To find your own personal calling in the community. People will think I’m crazy, but that’s exactly what happened. And the way it all worked together for four years.”
According to Hansen, the Clothes Closet doesn’t operate like Goodwill or other thrift stores in requiring payment. Instead, the closet functions as a place for people in need, giving away most items it receives through community donations.
“No matter what, it’s free,” Hansen said, adding that the closet has received significant support from the community.
“This community is incredible in supporting the clothes closet,” she said, noting that a 24/7 donation shed used by the group was built by a local Eagle Scout, and a “huge majority of our [donated] clothes are in amazing shape.”
“They are amazing, they are. And the patrons that come in are amazing too. You find yourself needing just a little help,” Hansen said, noting that often many patrons that come through the closet return to become volunteers.
“There’s just a good percentage of people in their lives that just need a little bit of help, and when things turn around they give back,” she said.