On April 9, 2013, the Calhoun, Ga., Church opened its doors to God’s Closet. The newly established outreach ministry is meeting a Calhoun community need: clothing for families in need.
Jessi Hodges knew that the Jan. 30 twister that hit Gordon and Bartow counties destroyed people’s closets along with their other possessions. Those closets needed replenishing. She experienced her first time helping tornado victims with much-needed clothing two years ago when storms hit Ringgold, Ga., and into Tennessee. To fill the present need, Melissa DeArk and other willing church volunteers came to the aid, spurred by Hodges. By Feb. 13, the church was set up to devote two days to distributing free clothes and offering prayer to 215 people.
The clothing recipients were so impressed and grateful, making statements like, “For free? We can have what we need?” The appreciation shown by those who were helped urged Hodges and DeArk to ask the church board if they might establish a continuing ministry through the church. God’s Closet is now a part of the church’s outreach, with Hodges and DeArk as co-directors. They are serving this free clothing distribution with the Bible text from Matt. 25:36 as their motto: “When I was naked, you clothed me.”
Hodges urges the necessity even without a tornado crisis.
“People are losing jobs right and left. Keeping up with the American standard of living is hard to do,” she said. “After we distributed the clothing in February, we’ve continued helping people along the way and wanted to continue.”
She points out that DeArk and she also work close together teaching kindergarten children in Sabbath school every week.
“We have the same heart for helping,” she said. “You know that saying, ‘sisters–in-Christ’? We really have become sisters.”
Hodges speaks with high respect of DeArk.
“Melissa, a mother of three, is a cancer survivor. Cancer almost took her, but I find her to be one of the most loving and selfless people I’ve ever met.”
At this time, families in need must come by referral from the church itself or the church food bank. The church is accepting donations of new or gently used items from individuals or businesses. Children’s spring clothing and sneakers are especially needed. For inquiries about need, call the church office at 706-629-5470. God’s Closet is open twice each month on the second Tuesday and Thursday during the hours of 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. God’s Closet is also on Facebook (search for "God's Closet-free clothing ministry).
Written by Betty Kossick