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Saint Paul’s free clothing ceter

Written by Neal F. Litherland. Posted in Uncategorized

Published on December 14, 2011 with No Comments

With the holidays approaching and the mercury falling, many families are beginning to feel the financial  strain on their budgets.

Winter means that you have to get coats, sweaters, hats, gloves and all of the attendant items for keeping warm, not to mention the difficulty of trying to put aside a little cash to spread some Christmas joy.

If you find yourself struggling to make ends meet and your budget just doesn’t have the room it needs for either of these things, there is help available.

The Saint Paul Clothing Center, 1853 Harrison St., Valparaiso, offers clothes, household necessities and even toys to those in the community for those folk that are struggling to get by and who just don’t have the resources for the necessities.

Located in their new, larger building since 2005, the center has been in existence in one form or another for roughly 42 years. Throughout that whole time, it’s been trying to provide warmth, clothing and much needed aid to those who need it in the community.

“We’ve been around for a long time, but not on this scale,” Louise Tucker, the director of the Saint Paul Clothing Center for the past 12 years, said. “And we still have new people signing up.”

According to Tucker, the clothing center has seen an influx of people over the past year. Previous users who no longer needed aid have returned to the center for help, and word of mouth has has helped connect  with a variety of charities including the Caring Place and the Salvation Army. Additionally people who have received help from the clothing center have passed the word along to friends and family, neighbors and others who have also found themselves in hard times.

“The word is out,” Tucker said. “And donations are pretty steady.”

The clothing center is run as a not-for-profit organization, and it works only with people considered low income.

The center is a charity and not a store. People can’t just come in and buy things as they would at a re-sale or thrift shop. And while the center is run purely on donations, Tucker said that they’re gearing up for the cold weather and certain items have become more of a demand with the seasonal change.

This includes coats, especially, for adults as well as teens and children. There is additional demand for snow suits and clothes for small children. Though the center keeps storage units, since winter items tend to be donated in the summer and vice versa, the center’s “coat savings” has been more or less used and they’re now depending on the regular flow of donations.

“Kid’s clothes around here are a premium,” Tucker said, in reference to the need the center has seen for applicable cold weather clothing for young people in the community.

For those that want to donate items to the Saint Paul’s Clothing Center, come to the center during operating hours and leave the items with the employees and volunteers of the center.

Alternatively, towards the front of Saint Paul’s, there is a collection shed that’s open to accept donations when the clothing center itself isn’t open. The center’s hours are from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday

“People don’t have to come through an organization,” Tucker said, mentioning that though many people are referred to the center by another organization that isn’t the only way to get aid. The center focuses on Porter County residents, but it has accepted those from surrounding counties and if there is a person or family in need, the center will do everything that it can to provide help.

For more information on the Saint Paul’s Clothing Center, call 219-462-0074.

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About Neal F. Litherland

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All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Neal Litherland is a Valparaiso resident who has been a freelance writer for several years. A graduate of Indiana University, he holds a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice. He offers advice on money-saving tips using common-sense tactics. He welcomes suggestions and comments. Contact Neal: neal@thechroniclenwi.com.

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