The Redeemer Diaconate organized an event called Free Community Closet, designed for job-seeking women in need of professional clothing. Because of an outpouring of generosity from our congregation, the Diaconate cubicles were piled high with bags of clothing and donated suits that had been lovingly packaged on hangers by you. On Saturday, March 8, a group of over 30 women arrived at the Redeemer office to what looked like boutique explosion in our conference room: coats, jackets, suits, dresses, and everything in between. They cheerfully helped sort and set up a clothing shop out of hundreds of donated items.
After gathering for a prayer of praise and gratitude to our generous God, the ladies were reminded that those who know Jesus are already dressed in His best and that He sees us as beautiful already in Jesus. The vivid imagery from Isaiah 61:10, “I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels” moved many to tears. Then they shopped until they dropped and it was all “free indeed.” A professional stylist volunteered her expertise and helped the ladies find the proper fit, gave style advice and wardrobe tips to an eager bunch wanting so much to get back to work in their new clothing.
Later our British DJ blasted runway tracks for the women to show off their clothes. Seeing the creativity as ladies expressed themselves on the catwalk in their new outfits was another highlight of the day! Everyone with the courage to model was entered into a lottery for the accessories. One woman said “[The Community Closet] was amazing and shows that God has not forgotten me.” Many were posing for one another in their new clothing or trading pieces. Having an event just for them helped them to cast their worries aside for one afternoon and to experience God’s provision for them in a very tangible way.
A mother who currently lives in a shelter with her children, due to domestic violence, said it was a welcome respite from the dreariness and challenge of her current situation and the Closet picked up her spirits and gave her back some dignity. She was overjoyed to find a parka that fit one of her rambunctious boy toddlers. Another lady shared, “Thank you for a happy and successful Community Closet. Loved the runway, music, sisterhood and fellowship not to mention the awesome new wine colored interview suit! It boosted my confidence.” That dear sister has been feeling so low, but on the runway she was whirling and twirling and smiling with the rest of us.
We have not left out our spiritual brothers. We were blessed to have been recipients of a large donation from a Redeemer businessman who not only supplied a great deal of women’s clothing but also a load of cleaned and unclaimed men’s clothing from one of his dry cleaning stores that enabled us to hold a community closet for male job seekers a week after the women’s event.
We thank God for giving us the resources to organize “one-off” community closet events that work well within the parameters of our urban church setting (e.g. lack of storage and space in general to have regular thrift store operation). We plan to organize additional closet events in the future. We are grateful indeed for God’s provision for these unemployed men and women from generous-hearted Redeemerites such as you—the Body of Christ in action. Thank you for modeling Deuteronomy 10:19 “He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, loves the alien, giving him food and clothing” to us.