Newton children are about to be “Clothed in Love.”
This Saturday, Grace Church host its sixth annual “Clothed in Love” event at 1620 N. 11th Ave E. The event gives children the school supplies they need to succeed as well as diapers and other clothing items in preparation for the school year.
Ann McDonald, a volunteer with “Clothed in Love,” has been involved in the event since its inception. She said it’s a very gratifying feeling getting children ready for the school year.
“Every year we give away school supplies, diapers, wipes, baby items like cribs, high chairs and, of course, clothes,” McDonald said. “That’s kind of the main focus for people to come get some free clothes, free shoes, help the kids kind of get back to school with whatever they need.”
McDonald said the event is extremely popular, and when it started she and the initial group got the idea from another Grace Church in Des Moines that holds the same event for Des Moines children.
“They do it with just the clothing, so we took it a little further and added the school supplies,” McDonald said.
Last year, McDonald said they had to turn some kids away in the afternoon because they ran out of school supplies, items they need a lot of each year.
“It seems like, as Newton has suffered with the economy, the need has increased every year,” McDonald said. ‘The nice thing is our support has increased every year, so we’ve been able to give away more school supplies and diapers every year that we’ve grown.”
McDonald said the church has increased, specifically, it’s amount of sponsors including A to Z Mini Storage, Casey’s, Hy-Vee, Great Western Bank, Plesant Hill United Church and Sam’s Club.
“Casey’s for years has supported us by giving us free pizza for our workers,” McDonald said. “We have a lot of workers that come out on Saturday, usually about 30 or 40 that come help people carry bags and, quote-unquote, shop. So they help us out.”
Children who come aren’t just given a backpack full of supplies. The kids get to pick the school supplies and clothes they need then they get to choose the backpack they want.
“We actually let them pick out their own backpack because there’s a lot of kids who need the school supplies but not the backpack and vice-versa,” McDonald said.
This year, McDonald hopes they won’t have to turn away any kids this year but said they could always use more sponsors.
“It’s a huge group effort out here at the church, and almost the entire church participates in one way or the other.”