The bright yellow socks seemed to be coming down the hallway on their own. But they were attached to a little girl with a huge smile on her face.
Why the smile?
Cindy’s feet were warm and dry for the first time in weeks and she was ecstatic. Bare feet and flip flops in the dead of winter are downright painful.
Kids Closet, a program of Kids Connections, has been silently filling the clothing needs of Vicksburg-area children for the past four years; Cindy is just one of hundreds on the receiving end. During 2014 more than 135 kids shopped and expressed excitement over finding something “cool” to wear. They love the variety of current, name-brand apparel they can try on and keep. Sizes 5T through Adult (for high schoolers) are ready for kids and families to choose from.
Kids Closet is located in the Kids Connections house across from Summit Polymers at the west edge of Vicksburg. It offers a unique shopping experience for those looking for clothing assistance. During scheduled open hours, 4:30-6 p.m. Thursdays, families sign in and are welcome to shop on a monthly basis for free items such as jeans, shirts, coats, snow pants, sweatshirts and other items.
All clothing at Kids Closet is donated by the local community. It’s sorted, washed and arranged for shopping ease. Depending on donations, shoes, belts, backpacks, sportswear, books, hygiene products and pajamas are also available to kids. Any items not used at the closet are donated to other local nonprofits. Frequently, the regular shoppers will donate back to the closet.
Kids Closet operates on a small budget used entirely to purchase new socks, underwear or other critical needs. Funds are replenished by the annual “Kids Connection Community Rummage Sale” held in August, plus grants and individual donations. While the monetary donations are crucial, the volunteers that keep it going are invaluable. BREATHE, a women’s ministry group from Lake Center Bible Church, adopted the closet last summer. A core group of volunteers evolved and currently operates the program.
Fueled by the desire to make the holidays special, Honey Parker and her helpers organized a giving tree with community toy donations from Vicksburg Dollar General. Afterwards, shopping families were able to select gifts for their children and enjoy cookies and snacks.
The story would not be complete without the support of the Village of Vicksburg. Through its generosity, Kids Closet has a home and can continue to meet the clothing needs of local children. The Department of Public Works (DPW) keeps the drive plowed so kids can continue to shop during the winter months.
Kids Connections is grateful to all who help keep the closet going: the village, Dollar General, the volunteers and the local community for their donations. For those who are interested in donating gently used, clean clothing appropriate for youth, a drop box is located behind the Kids Connections house. Those with questions or who would like to make a monetary donation can call 269-744-6475 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.