By SCCS Director Drew Johnson
This month I sat down with Cyndi Frakes to talk about her experience volunteering on a program that we run with Chapman Memorial Church of the Nazarene (ChapNaz) Church: the Diaper Depot. Cyndi has been doing the diaper shopping and coordinating with us for about the last year and has really enjoyed her time. We talked about the SCCS-ChapNaz Diaper Depots and the ChapNaz Clothes Closet:
Drew: Our readers may not know that we work with you guys, but SCCS and ChapNaz actually do a lot of things together. You all are a major partner for our holiday programming, started a Clothing Closet that we often send clients to, and within the last year or so started giving diapers to people in need with the Diaper Depot. That started when you guys approached us about helping to fill a need that you all were seeing at the Clothes Closet. How did you get started with the Diaper Depot?
Cyndi: Sandy Johnson approached me about volunteering for a short time. At first it was just something different to do, but I found that it filled a gap that I had in me since my husband passed. It gave me a sense of purpose. I read somewhere that no matter our age, we are not supposed to be put on a shelf. We need to be put to use. That’s what the Diaper Depot and Clothes Closet have done for me. And I love it! We help people from all over the community — some of them I’ve known from teaching them in kindergarten! We have a lot of volunteers who feel the same way. We have a 90-year-old volunteer, and many more of us who are retired. And we all get along and love to help each other too. We pray with each other and I have met and connected with a lot of people doing this work that I don’t think I would have before. We really need to open our hearts and mind to the community.
Drew: How are things going? Has anything changed for you all recently?
Cyndi: Yes! The big news is in the Clothes Closet. If you haven’t come by since we opened, you would be surprised! We moved to the basement and we have a lot more space now. Everything is cleaned and folded — it looks like a department store!
Drew: You guys are incredible — I’ve seen the pictures to prove it! How can people help support the work ChapNaz is doing?
Cyndi: Donate gently used clothes and diapers. We are so blessed to be so supported by the community. We have a lot of clothes for people, and all kinds too — interview clothes, new underwear, socks, winter clothes… we are entirely donation-based. And if we can’t use it, we give it to places that give things away as opposed to selling them.
Drew: And how can clients use the Clothes Closet or Diaper Depot?
Cyndi: They can stop by when we are open to pick up clothes and diapers! We also do a lot of individual appointments if people aren’t able to make it when we are usually there. Families can also pick up diapers from South County Community Services, but we ask that they only do one diaper pickup from per month no matter where they pick up from.
Drew Johnson lives in Kalamazoo and is the Director at South County Community Services. He has a small quarter-acre homestead with chickens, bees, and hops (and more!), a wonderful wife, and three energetic children. He can be reached at 649-2901 or email@example.com.
For more information on South County Community Services, please check out our Facebook page at facebook.com/southcountycs or follow this link to our website.
By SCCS Director Drew Johnson