Volunteers help save Penn Hills’ Clothes Line community closet

After donating clothes to Mt. Hope Community Presbyterian Church’s community closet for 10 years, Wendy Redington received bad news when she brought clothes to donate in late January.

The Clothes Line was closing because it did not have enough volunteers.

Devastated by the news, Redington decided to make a phone call before leaving the church’s parking lot. The Penn Hills resident had a plan. She called a friend to ask her if she would be interested in volunteering with her at the church on Frankstown Road.

One phone call turned into recruiting seven women to help volunteer at the church’s community closet. The recruitment effort worked. In the basement of the church, eight women take rotating shifts between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Thursday to help upkeep and run the closet.

“There’s beautiful stuff here. I’d hate to see it go to waste,” Redington said.

Redington said all clothing is free, and patrons can take as much as they want. Donations of clothes are accepted from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. The Clothes Line offers a variety of items from women’s clothes, men’s clothing, baby clothes, winter coats, shoes, purses, suits, dresses and more.

Dan Hadzima, who is the maintenance man at the church, said the Clothes Line has existed at the church for 12 years. The basement where the closet is housed was previously a preschool before it evolved to storing clothes. The closet got its start from members of the church helping to provide clothes to those in need. From there, the cause became a permanent staple in the church’s basement.

“I said it would be a disservice that an aide to the community would close,” Hadzima said.

Seeing the revitalization of the closet and being able to help those in need brings satisfaction to the volunteers who jumped at the chance to save it. They work to sort out clothes sizes, ensure clothes are not damaged or stained and work to keep the space easily navigable.

“I am fortunate we were able to save it,” Redington said.

Debbie Digsby helped create flyers to post around town to let people know The Clothesline is still around.

“This church has always done a lot of good, and they do a lot for the community,” she said.

Volunteers have seen six to eight bags donated weekly to the church, but Redington is hoping to spread the word to increase the volume that they are able to give out.

“People knew this was closing but I don’t think they are aware it’s still going on,” she said.

Vance Torbert, the church’s newest pastor, said the volunteers do great work for the church.

“We have people knocking on the door all the time saying they need stuff. You can get anything you want here, and you can’t beat that,” he said.

Tanisha Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tanisha at 412-480-7306, [email protected] or via Twitter .