For October our Employee of the Month here at the Wayne Township Office is Patsy Brewer. She is an executive secretary who has also been running our Clothing Emporium for the past five years. Below is an excerpt of a Waynedale News article I wrote in February 2015 about our clothing bank and about how Patsy has dedicated herself to our mission of helping people in need.
The Clothing Emporium was started when we saw that clients looking for jobs often did not have the right clothes needed to succeed in their search. And many times their children were doing without coats and clothes for school. “We saw a need,” says Patsy Brewer, who spearheaded the Emporium, “We had a food bank, so why not a clothing bank?” So from a few items on a give-away table the Emporium was born, and over the last four years it has supplied over 4,000 people with needed garments. (The number served as of October 2016 stands at over 6,000.)
Every Wednesday morning we hold a class here to help our Township Assistance clients with, among other things, job hunting skills. We talk about searching, applying, and interviewing for jobs. During the class breaks, the Clothing Emporium, located across the hall from the classroom, is open for the attendees to shop. For one such class meeting Patsy decided to hold a Spring Fling fashion show to showcase some of the shop’s items. She chose six volunteers out of the class and helped each one put together an outfit, complete with matching accessories, jewelry and shoes all from the Emporium. With music in the background an announcer described each ensemble as the models strode across ‘the stage’ in front of the class. It was beautiful to see how transformed they looked as each model walked proudly with his or her new, professional look. At the end, the models got to keep their outfits.
While we focus on “dressing for success,” the Emporium accepts and distributes all types of clothing. There are suits for a job interview; uniform slacks, tops, and shoes; casual items like sweatshirts and jeans; school uniforms, and baby clothes. There are coats, hats, and gloves. The store even has household items like bedding, towels and kitchenware.
The Clothing Emporium is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 to 11:30 and other times with an appointment. Patsy is there to show folks through the store and to help find the right clothes for them. “I can size them up just by looking,” she says. “Sometimes they say they wear one size, but I’ll see they need another, often smaller size than they think, and I’m usually right.”
Keeping a wide variety of sizes in stock for shoppers is one of the challenges of running the Clothing Emporium, but somehow we always manage. The store carries all sizes, from Infant to XXXL. “I’d say we’re able to satisfy the needs of 99 percent of the folks who come to the store,” said Patsy, “and we have all of our generous donors to thank for that.”
The Emporium started in 2011 when two staff members brought in clothes from home to be given away to our clients in need. “From one table’s worth the Clothing Emporium grew to three rooms full,” said Patsy. Donations to the store come from many sources including staff members and other members of the public. Some donate clothing and other items while others prefer to contribute cash. That is always a big help, “I like for some things to be new when I give them out, like underwear for example, so I use the cash contributions to shop for that,” said Patsy.
Patsy regularly goes to Huntertown United Methodist Church’s Career Closet. They donate to us, letting Patsy ‘shop’ their store for hundreds of items free for the Emporium. We also work closely with the Wellspring Shoppe, another clothing bank that opened (in 2015) on Broadway.
I am proud to be able to continually serve our Wayne Township Citizens with needed assistance. Stop in and see us and our Clothing Emporium, full of fall fashions and running stronger than ever in the capable hands of our own Patsy Brewer.
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