In just 2 weeks in our new location, the Clothes Closet has hosted more than 40 teens—we knew the need was there and are so glad we can meet it! But that means our needs are great, also. Here’s how you can help—drop off the following gently-used teen items in the church entry donation bins:
- Wallets (men’s and women’s)
- Socks (new)
- Leggings (new)
- Sports bras (new)
- Body wash and other toiletries
Or ask at the office about volunteering to assist in hosting the Monday night shopping hours.
Thank you for your continued donations, prayers and support!
First Teen Clothes Closet has a new home!
Thank you to the many volunteers who have helped in the relocation of the First Teen Clothes Closet to its new home, sharing a building with the Children’s Clothes Closet at Trinity Lutheran Church in La Crosse. We are excited about the opportunity to serve more teens in a location that is more accessible to the area of our community with the greatest concentration of need.
As part of the relocation of the First Teen Clothes Closet, we need volunteers to help move the current inventory from the house to our new location at Trinity. This is a great opportunity for youth to earn volunteer hours! Meet at the house at 9am on Wednesday, August 1.
We’re moving! While the current location has served us well, the steering committee has felt for some time now that it doesn’t serve our guests as well as we wish it would. Our location in Onalaska is convenient for us, but not as convenient for the majority of the region’s teens in need, many of whom live on the north side of La Crosse with limited access to transportation, making it difficult to get to downtown Onalaska on weekends and evenings. While we have had success with our shuttle from the Children’s Clothes Closet at Trinity Lutheran Church, we believe there are many more teens we should be serving, so we are taking that collaboration to the next level.
The First Teen Clothes Closet is relocating to space available at Trinity Lutheran, so we can provide families with a single stop for clothing for both children and teens in a location that they can more easily access. We hope to be in place before the Aug. 13 shoe distribution and block party at Trinity.
Here’s how you can help:
- Pray for a smooth transition to our new location over the summer.
- Help with the transition itself—we will need volunteers to assist with taking clothes off the racks & shelves at the current location; disassembling & reassembling racks & shelves in our new location; and moving clothes to the new location to get everything set up.
All of these tasks will be done from mid-July through early August.
We’ll need willing hands and legs to relocate clothes from the second floor of the house to the downstairs so that the shelves can be taken down—this could be a great volunteer opportunity for teens!
We need a few mechanically-minded individuals to disassemble, move and reassemble all of the shelving and racks.
And then we’ll need more “movers” to get the clothes to Trinity and onto racks and shelves in our new location.
Specific dates and times are still being nailed down, so watch for information on the church and Clothes Closet Facebook pages or in the bulletin and additional emails. If you can help with one of these tasks, please contact a committee member or the church office so we can notify you directly when we have more specifics.
We will continue to use space at the house for sorting donations and having teens approve the clothes before offering them to our guests.
We hope the congregation will join us in our excitement about the potential we have to serve more teens in need by taking the clothes to where they live, rather than expecting them all to come to us.
First Teen Clothes Closet team: Lori Lunney, Shari Hegland, Bridget Crave, Patty Shepard
While the closet is largely filled, we do need a few specific items to meet our guests’ needs.
- clean, gently used men’s coats (especially small and medium sizes)
- winter boots for guys or girls
- toothpaste and body wash
Please drop them off in the entry way. Thank you for your generosity!
First Teen Clothes Closet is accepting monetary donations to purchase new shoes for teens in conjunction with the annual shoe distribution hosted August 30 by the Children’s Clothes Closet/Trinity Lutheran Church in La Crosse. We hope to provide at least 120 pair of shoes for middle school and high school students to get the new school year started on the right foot. Monetary donations may be dropped off in the church office or in the offering — please indicate it is for the First Teen Clothes Closet shoe drive.
Along with donating shoes, we hope to bring along 12-14 volunteers. Six volunteers will get shoes from the holding area and have the person try them on, making sure they have the correct size. You will work with kids of all ages. We need another 4-6 high schoolers and/or adults to help with games to provide a fun outlet for those who attend. Sign up at 1stlu.org/shoes or contact the church office. Thank you!
“For some families here, Onalaska might as well be on the other side of the state.” These were the words of one of the county social workers housed in Trinity Lutheran Church on the North Side and assigned specifically to serve residents of the area around La Crosse’s Northside Elementary.
The First Teen Clothes Closet is expanding its reach through a partnership with the Children’s Clothes Closet, housed at Trinity Lutheran Church in La Crosse. We have recognized for some time that there are many families who struggle to access our facility because they lack transportation to Onalaska. Recently connecting with organizers from the Children’s Clothes Closet has presented an opportunity for us to bring more teens to our Closet as an extension of our recent decision to offer to pay for taxi or transit rides.
Seasons are changing, and the First Teen Clothes Closet is preparing for spring. Prom season is around the corner, and we would love to have more dresses, jewelry and shoes to offer our guests. Other needed items include athletic shorts for guys and girls, and soon we will need girls’ swimsuits.
A few numbers our congregation should feel good about:
- 215: Guests served at the First Teen Clothes Closet and through partnerships with other agencies
- 12: Communities from which guests came, including as far away at Coon Valley, Blair and Sparta
- 481: Pants, skirts and shorts distributed
- 444: Shirts, sweaters and hoodies handed out
- 60: Jackets and coats given to those in need
- 130: Pairs of shoes
Thanks to the generosity of our congregation and community, the First Teen Clothes Closet has full racks for nearly all items. There are a few specific needs for which we would still welcome donations now: coats, shoes, boots and items in hard-to-find XXL and larger sizes.
What is our most precious resource? The thing we all wish we had more of, to use, to share with our families and to give to others?
Surely, it is time. While we guard our time closely and feel we never have enough of it, it is when we give that time that we receive the most back. Volunteers who have given their time to serve as hosts for the First Teen Clothes Closet recently shared the moments of time when they were able to see and feel how this ministry is about so much more than clothes.
Our biggest requests this month for items at the First Teen Clothes Closet may seem at odds with each other: winter coats and athletic shorts. Here’s why both are needed…
Your generosity has us bursting at the seams! The First Teen Clothes Closet has nearly filled all of its available space at the moment, so we will only be accepting these items:
- Boys jeans
- Boys shorts
- Girls athletic style shorts
What we would gladly accept are volunteers! We try to have volunteer hosts available for a wide range of times in order to provide flexibility in meeting the scheduling needs of our clients. Hosts sign up for times when they can be available to take appointments. Appointments will only be scheduled if two volunteers have signed up for the same time slot, so that they can work as a team. Time slots are currently available:
- 3-5 p.m. and 5-7 p.m. most weeknights, or…
- 9-11 a.m. & 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.
If you are interested in volunteering as an appointment host, contact the church office, Bridget Crave or Lori Lunney. We can arrange an orientation and try to match you up with an experienced volunteer for your first hosting experience.
First Teen Clothes Closet team,
With the changing seasons, the First Teen Clothes Closet is getting ready for summer. We welcome donations of shorts, short-sleeved shirts, sandals, and swimwear; there is also still a need for boys’ jeans, particularly in the 32x34 and 32x36 sizes, and for girls’ leggings. Please hold on to your winter items until the fall, as we have limited space for storing out of season clothing. Watch for new social media accounts specifically for the Clothes Closet, then share them with your network!
While visits to the First Teen Clothes Closet were down in the first few weeks of the year, by the end of January, our requests were back to normal, with 4 guests in the last week of January and 20 guests during the month of February.