By Holly Carew, Westborough High School, class of 2020
Westborough – In October, the nonprofit Westborough- based organization In Your Shoes held a clothing drive in the Forbes community space located above the food pantry.
Led by President Terry Gavin, the group recently spearheaded the “In Your Shoes Community Clothes Closet,” a free thrift store for Westborough residents in need of winter clothing.
The charity group sponsored a different clothing drive about “three or four years ago,” according to Gavin, and unfortunately “didn’t have the right place to hold it.”
This time they decided to “scale it back a little bit,” just focusing on coats and boots, as well as other items.
In Your Shoes welcomed donations from coat drives at all of the schools, the library, the town hall, and some of the churches.
The Community Clothes Closet “took in donations of coats, hats, mittens, new underwear, new socks” as a way, Gavin said, “to give back to those in need.”
Along with the coats and winter items, In Your Shoes decided to have the closet give out new underwear and socks as well.
When one thinks of donating clothes, specifically winter items, socks and underwear aren’t typically the first thing that comes to mind, but that’s exactly why Gavin decided to include them.
These items happened to be some of the most desired–all of them were gone by the time the event was over. In fact, the Community Clothes Closet gave out over 350 coats, which Gavin says was “absolutely terrific.”
Any leftover items were given to a variety of different organizations, including the Veterans, schools, and nursing homes in town, as well as Goodwill.
The volume of donations, as well as the number of people who came to the “store” was largely due in part to the advertising of the event. With posters all over town and on social media, groups such as the “Wicked Wise Women of Westborough” on Facebook played an extremely important role in the success of the store.
Additionally, the Community Clothes Closet was held directly above the food pantry, allowing those customers to come up and “shop” with ease.
Ultimately, all of this was to help those in need in our town community, who can be overlooked at times. Although Westborough is traditionally seen as a wealthier town, there still is a rather large group of people who aren’t able to enjoy the same luxuries as the rest of the community. However, with the advent of the Community Clothes Closet, In Your Shoes is looking to change all that. By giving these people an added resource to make their lives just that much easier, Gavin and In Your Shoes are going that extra mile to not only help the community, but to bring them out of the shadows as well.
The Community Clothes Closet will happen annually in October, and is renewed for the same space–in the Forbes Community Building, directly above the food pantry.
If you or someone you know would like to help with this project, In Your Shoes is always looking for volunteers.
For more information: https://inyourshoeswestborough.com