God's Closet Launches New Chapter
The Seventh-day Adventist Community Church of Vancouver (Wash.) opened their doors to more than 100 family units from the surrounding community on Nov. 11, 2011. Each unit received two shopping bags to fill with quality clothing items for children newborn to 18. "Shoppers" expressed appreciation for the friendliness of church volunteers, and 15 people signed up for Bible studies.
God's Closet was developed three years ago by an Adventist foster mom, Merryl Tschoepe, of Spokane, Wash., who saw a need in her community for access to free clothing. The Vancouver team, comprised of six moms, began work in September to open a local chapter of God's Closet. Relationships were established with consignment stores, support received from local Adventist churches and schools, and many divine encounters and moments of undeniable affirmation transpired that demonstrated God's leading.
Inspiration to open a chapter of God's Closet in Vancouver arrived in the form of a little girl attending both Vacation Bible School and FLAG (Fun Learning About God) Camp wearing the same sweatpants and T-shirt daily. Although two moms compiled clothing for the child, a heart-burden developed for identifying and meeting the needs of other children in the community living without adequate clothing.
The team's goals became threefold: to be the hands of God in their community; to direct people to the love of God and an invitation to fellowship through church programs or Bible studies; and to model to their own children and engage them in acts of service that glorify God.
Each setup day requires more than 100 volunteer hours, and an increasing number of families are anticipated to arrive at each quarterly event. The team and church family look forward to meeting these needs and witnessing the Spirit working on the hearts of community members. The next free shop for God's Closet will be Feb. 10.