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KINGSPORT — After several months of being shut down due to COVID-19, First Presbyterian Church’s clothes closet has reopened for business.

The clothes closet relies on community donations and provides free clothing to men, women and children in need. Director Don Thompson said that even though the clothes closet resumed operation late last year, many people still aren’t aware of that fact.

“We’ve been pretty steadily serving like 30 people a week. … We didn’t have that many, but we are getting up and I’m seeing different faces, rather than the same faces,” Thompson said. “Word is getting out.”


About the clothes closet

First Presbyterian Church’s clothes closet was started in the mid-1950s by a church member who wanted to recycle her children’s clothing to help others. As more and more families joined the effort and donated their own clothes, the clothes closet continued to grow.

Today, the clothes closet is open to those in need on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to noon in the church’s Fellowship Center. Donations are accepted in the Fellowship Center on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to noon and 4:30-5:30 p.m.; a donation bin will be available in the future to allow for donations at any time.

During the pandemic

When the COVID-19 pandemic reached this region in March of last year, the clothes closet was one of many organizations that had to shut down.

“Before that time, we were in a basement there at the church, and we still have those rooms down there, but the fact is that they’re small classrooms. With having racks on the walls and everything, there were many times people were elbow to elbow,” Thompson said. “With the state restrictions and trying to protect everybody, including our volunteers, toward the end of March when they were starting to close things down and be very restrictive, it got to where we had to get more restrictive, too. So we ended up closing at the end of March last year, and that was right before we did the changeover to the spring and summer things.”

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