Acting on a burden for the needs of the poor, Dwell member Sarah Fusner created the Community Clothing Outreach (CCO) ministry. It has served hundreds of local families, offering them gently-used clothing in a warm, caring environment. The ministry is looking for more volunteers to help it grow.
For many months Sarah, along with fellow Endeavor Home Church members, operated the ministry out of her home, collecting donations and setting them up like a store, so people could shop for what they need. “Imagine a garage sale where everything is free and people receive prayer at the end.” Sarah and other volunteers have worked to create a unique, caring atmosphere for the people visiting the free store. Volunteers talk with each shopper, sharing a Bible verse and offering to pray with them.
The ministry now operates the store out a newly-renovated space in Dwell’s 4th Street location. The space will allow the ministry to grow to serve more families. The store is open at select times during the week.
Sarah says store volunteers work hard to connect with the needs people have beyond their need for clothes. “Many shoppers come to us with difficult life situations and need the care and concern of a good listener to hear their heart on the issues.” She says several shoppers receive prayer and many return to offer their time as volunteers.
Sarah says her burden for helping the poor with needed clothing came from her experiences on missions trips and by visiting Columbus food pantries. “I saw the need for free clothing in an environment of dignity, love, and joy.” She is guided by 1 Timothy 6:18 and 1 John 4:19, but her favorite is 1 John 3:16-17: "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?”
You can get involved in this ministry in a variety of ways. The primary need is volunteers, both when the store is open and when it is not. During open hours, volunteers help shoppers find what they need, talking with them and offering to pray with them. Volunteers are also needed to sort donations, schedule shopper appointments, get the word out to the community, and other roles. You can sign up to volunteer at this link or email Sarah if you have more questions.
Two other ways you can help:
- Contribute financially: You can help with the cost to finish renovating the store’s new space at 4th Street space. You can donate at this link.
- Donate clothing: CCO is looking for clean clothing, free from tips, stains, odors, and pet hair. To arrange a donation, email email@example.com.
You can also connect with CCO on Facebook at this link--it’s a great way to stay on top of the ministry’s needs. Please pray for this wonderful work of God!