About a third of South County families live in poverty or close to it. Some are called “ALICE” households: Asset Limited, Income Constricted and Employed, an indication that such a family lives below a basic survival threshold that includes being able to pay for housing, food, child care, health care and transportation on a dependable basis.
Clothing for family members can also be a challenge. That is why for over 20 years, South County Community Services (SCCS) has partnered with a team of volunteers and Lakeland Reformed Church to manage a clothing shop.
The program at Lakeland ended a few weeks ago, but its program, even its bin, will continue elsewhere in the area.
Longtime volunteers Margie Chapin, Barb Comstock, Kay Bach, Fran Davis and Donna Simonton were honored on the shop’s last day, September 24. “SCCS is deeply grateful for the work of the volunteers and hospitality provided by Lakeland Reformed staff and church members,” according to Director Danna Downing.
As family needs continue to grow, and working moms have little time to shop during the day, SCCS has changed how it will address clothing needs. The goals are to improve access for both donors and recipients and to increase the number of families served.
Beginning November 16, SCCS will provide either vouchers or referrals to its clothing shop partners:
Kids Closet (3129 East VW in Vicksburg), Home Again (107 S Main in Vicksburg), Still in Style (625 W Prairie in Vicksburg), Valley Thrift Shop (just north of Meijer at 8700 Shaver Road in Portage).
The team at Kids Closet provides free clothing for school-aged children. The children’s clothing from the Lakeland Reformed clothing shop will go to there and SCCS will continue to refer families with children to Kids Closet. They are open on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month from 6-7:30 p.m.
SCCS will issue vouchers based on a family’s needs, to be used for shopping with the other three partners:
Home Again provides a nice array of adult clothing and is open weekdays from 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Still in Style provides both adult and children’s clothing. This shop is open weekdays from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Valley Thrift Store is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and provides clothing for the entire family.
Additional partners may be added to the mix as time goes on. The partners are committed to working together to measure success and meet client needs. In addition, SCCS will promote area rummage sales and be looking for other partners to do additional clothing distributions at other local events. This was done very successfully with Generous Hands for the annual Backpack Bonanza this fall.
The donation bin from Lakeland will be placed at Kids Closet for donors. All gently used and clean clothing is welcome, so please help spread the word, Downing said.