Natural disasters are all over the news this month...tornadoes across the south, floods through the Mississippi Valley, wildfires all over Texas... and Blanco County is jumping into the relief effort with an interfaith used clothing collection Memorial Day weekend.
The collectors will accept donations all three days of the holiday weekend, from 9 to 5 Saturday, 1 to 5 Sunday, and 9 to 5 Monday, in the Activity Building of the First United Methodist Church in Johnson City.
Some other churches around the county will conduct their own drives to add to the total, too.
In the end, the interfaith effort will turn the collections from all our county churches over to the Seventh-day Adventist Church clothing collection team. They’ll do a detailed sort, sanitize the clothing, and store it in the Adventists’ Arkansas warehouse, which serves this region. When the next call for emergency clothing comes, they’ll load one of their trucks and roll out immediately to the disaster area.
“Because it takes so much time-consuming work, disaster responders usually consider used clothing donations to be a second disaster,” explained Frank Jeys, who, with his wife, Mary, head the Adventist clothing collection for this area from their home in Bandera.
“The Seventh-day Adventist Church has taken this unwanted interruption and turned it into an organized benefit. By staying one disaster ahead of events, we have time to sort and sanitize the clothes and prepare them for a well-ordered delivery quicker than well-intentioned people could make a dis-ordered one.”
That’s a big help to three key players in disasters: the victims, who need clothing immediately to replace what they’ve lost; the disaster managers, who don’t have time or manpower to handle donated clothing in the midst of chaos; and the good-hearted donors, who see a need and want to do something to help.
“An interfaith program like this is a great way to do Christ’s work in solving a very real problem,” said Pastor Norman Roe of the First United Methodist Church. “It wouldn’t work to say Methodists will collect clothes for Methodist victims, and that wouldn’t be the way Jesus would approach it.
“He’d tell us to take gifts from anyone who has them to give, and give them to anyone who needs them. And that’s exactly what we’re doing. Blanco County can help, and lots of people need it.”
The collectors will accept all wearable clothing, including shoes — but not used underwear. Underwear can be accepted only if it is new and unused. Boxed, bagged or loose piles of clothes are all fine.
“The floods and tornadoes have depleted our stock and we need to build it back up,” Mary Jeys said. “The need from those disasters continues, and hurricane season begins June 1st.”
For more information about the Blanco County interfaith disaster clothing drive, call JoAnn at 830-868-7414.