Donations to Gigi’s provide clothing for those in need

By: 
Walter Sprague

Photo by Walter Sprague/NLJ

Having made their selections at Gigi’s Closet, Viola Carlson and Clark Brady bring clothing up to checkout desk, while Elaine Wilcomb puts them in bags. Gigi’s Closet accepts clothing donations, and is located at First United Methodist Church in Newcastle.

 

Walter Sprague

Arts & Culture Reporter

 

There’s a little-known place in Newcastle to help those in need of clothing, located in the basement of the First United Methodist Church off Seneca Avenue.

“Gigi’s Closet is a place for people to bring clothes they don’t use anymore but that still have some good use in them,” said Phyl Sundstrom.

With the plan to repurpose used clothing, an idea was formed in the mind of Irma Fouch during a Sunday School class at the church, which led to Gigi’s Closet being open about four years ago. In 2020, Gigi’s Closet was mostly shut down due to COVID-19, but when things started to open up in the fall, Gigi’s also re-opened.

With some racks donated by Dan Decker of Decker’s Market and other donations from many people and organizations, Gigi’s serves the community to ensure that anyone who needs clothes that are still in good condition can get some. Operating free of charge, Gigi’s relies on donations of clothing for all ages, including children’s outfits. Of course, any donations of money are greatly appreciated as well, but not necessary. 

Donations to Gigi’s are preferred on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month when the closet is open to the public, but they can also be delivered to the church office Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to noon.

The name of the place, “Gigi,” is for the late Evelyn Zingery, former county clerk and member of the Methodist church. Her grandchildren called her Gigi, which means grandmother. She was a much-loved member of the church and the community. So when the brainstorming about the closet was done it was decided that it would make a good name, and a fitting tribute to a respected lady.

The good will of people who donate to Gigi’s Closet does not necessarily end with Newcastle, however. Any clothing that has not moved in a while gets packed up and sent to Cornerstone Rescue Mission Women’s Shelter in Rapid City. So the benevolence lives on, even past the boundaries of Weston County.

Anyone who is in need of clothing with plenty of wear in them, or wishes to donate clothes or financial assistance, can stop by First United Methodist Church of Newcastle and get to know the volunteers that run this service.

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