Free school clothes at Debbie’s Clothes Closet in Grandview
By Kathy Feist
Photos by Nicolette Vescovi
This is the time of year when families are gearing up for school. Along with purchasing school bags and school supplies usually comes a new fall wardrobe for growing children.
For some families, though, new clothing is not an option no matter how quickly their children grow.
Debbie’s Clothes Closet located in Grandview is reaching out to those families. The nonprofit offers free, gently used clothing to families in need. Located at 12607 Grandview Rd. in a former rectory north of the Grandview United Methodist Church, the clothing closet will open its doors to shoppers on August 25, or when school begins in Grandview. At that time, not only do families get a bag of free clothing but packages of new socks and underwear for the children as well, courtesy the Grandview United Methodist Church.
Debbie’s Clothes Closet started nearly 16 years ago by members of the church. Since then various volunteers have staffed the store every Tuesday and Thursday from 2 to 5 pm. Each room in the former home has a different theme. Baby clothes hang on racks in the room off the entry. Elementary and middle school girls clothing in the room to the right. Another nearby for boys. And on the south wing is clothing for teens and adults.
The north wing of the house holds sacks of sorted clothing that did not meet the standards of “gently used.” They will be donated to the DAV.
Shoppers are restricted to only one plastic grocery sack full of clothing twice a month. “You can get a lot of stuff in that one trash bag!” says volunteer Andrea Driller. “We keep the inventory fresh by not allowing people to come in and take the whole thing.”
Debbie’s Clothes Closet relies on donated clothing from Church of the Resurrection in Leawood and St. Matthew’s Catholic Church in Grandview. But Driller says they will take donations from anyone. Bags of clothing can be dropped off outside the door of the shop at any time. The nonprofit also accepts money donations to purchase the socks and underwear.
Debbie’s Clothes Closet has around 11,000 visitors a year counting family members, a jump from the 4,000 they saw the first year it opened.
Nevertheless, volunteers want to get the word out to a wider population. “Right now it’s a good secret,” says Driller. “We want a bigger variety of people who are in need.” She said that would include the homeless and those who lost their home to fire.
When the shop opens, it will follow Covid 19 safety rules and expects the same from its visitors: masks, 6-feet distancing, no fever, no cough and no children. Paper masks and hand sanitizer will be available.
Donated clothing must be laundered and folded.
For more information, check out Debbie’s Clothing Closet on Facebook or call 816-807-8992 or contact Pastor Harper at 913-530-3343.