Volunteers Help Save Penn Hills Clothing Line’s Community Closet

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After donating clothes to the community closet at the Mt. Hope Community Presbyterian Church for 10 years, Wendy Redington received some bad news when she brought in clothes to donate in late January.

The clothesline was closing because it didn’t have enough volunteers.

Devastated by the news, Redington decided to make a phone call before leaving the church parking lot. The Penn Hills resident had a plan. She called a friend to ask if she would be interested in volunteering with her at Frankstown Road Church.

A phone call turned into the recruitment of seven women to volunteer at the church’s community closet. The recruiting effort worked. In the basement of the church, eight women take turns every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to help with the upkeep and management of the closet.

“There are beautiful things here. I would hate to see him get lost,” Redington said.

Redington said all clothes are free and customers can take as many as they want. Clothing donations are accepted from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The clothing line offers a variety of items ranging from women’s clothing, men’s clothing, baby clothing, winter coats, shoes, handbags, suits, dresses and more.

Dan Hadzima, who is the church’s maintenance man, said the clothesline has existed at the church for 12 years. The basement where the closet is located was previously a kindergarten before evolving to store clothes. The closet was made possible by members of the church who helped provide clothing to those in need. From there, the cause became a permanent fixture in the church basement.

“I said it would be a disservice to help the community shut down,” Hadzima said.

Seeing the revitalization of the closet and being able to help those in need brings satisfaction to the volunteers who jumped at the chance to save it. They work to sort clothing sizes, make sure clothes aren’t damaged or stained, and work to keep the space easily navigable.

“I’m lucky we were able to save him,” Redington said.

Debbie Digsby helped create flyers to post around town letting people know The Clothesline is still around.

“This church has always done a lot of good, and it does a lot for the community,” she said.

Volunteers have seen six to eight bags donated each week to the church, but Redington hopes to spread the word to increase the volume they are able to distribute.

“People knew it was closing, but I don’t think they’re aware of it continuing,” she said.

Vance Torbert, the church’s newest pastor, said the volunteers are doing a great job for the church.

“We have people knocking on the door all the time saying they need things. You can get anything you want here, and you can’t get any better,” he said.

Tanisha Thomas is editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact Tanisha at 412-480-7306, tthomas@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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