The Capital District United Methodist Men have operated the Homeless Men’s Clothes Closet for homeless men in Austin for 20 years. Every Monday—for 20 years—they arrive downtown and begin unpacking their stock from the small storage space at the Central Presbyterian Church. (The location has changed a time or two, but CPC is the current home!) The volunteers use a meeting room at the Church for the “shop” itself, but they must stow away their stock when the closet isn’t open. It is a packing marvel, the way these guys get the racks and bins and men’s wear tucked away. The clothes are mostly donated—though the volunteers may buy a few things they need and don’t get donated.
The closet they set up is a really a “small shop.” With a voucher from Front Steps, our clients may come by once a month and choose five items of clothing—belts and shoes are also available to clients once per three months. Clients get to choose from available stock, the selections are sized and sorted and the volunteers serve everyone with warmth and dignity. The volunteers are a tight crew—many of them have been volunteering for the whole twenty years. They keep improving their “closet” to make the experience better for the clients we send over from the shelter. Donated belts don’t always come in the sought after sizes (32″ and 34″) so these volunteers got tools and started a “cobbler shop” for cutting down and adding holes to extend the sizing on donated belts that are tooooo big or toooo small.
Twenty years of service is a remarkable achievement, and we are profoundly grateful for their engagement.