The Caring Closet at Community Christian Reformed Church in Saginaw, Mich., has become a significant part of the larger community in just a few short months.
Focusing mainly on clothing and shoes, the Caring Closet has provided more than 5,000 items to families in the community since opening last May.
The Caring Closet is open two Saturdays each month, serving around 60 people on a typical day. Traffic goes up for special events like the back-to-school day when 144 children were served or in November when food boxes are given out. Lunch is also provided.
The closet is a partnership between the church and Growing Years Christian School and Child Care Center, operated by Steve and Anita Collins, members of Community CRC. Classis Lake Erie has also awarded the church a grant that assists with advertising and food costs.
“The Caring Closet is a Holy Spirit-inspired ministry in response to our prayer ‘How, Lord, shall we serve the people of Saginaw?’” said Community’s pastor, Nathan Gritter.
“Nothing compares to seeing how appreciative people are, watching children play and work on art projects, and watching people enjoying themselves around the lunch tables,” said Anita Collins. “We have a group of older women, for example, who come regularly, mainly for fellowship and lunch. As one of them said, ‘This is the way churches used to be, helping people, opening their doors to people. Sometimes people just need a place to go for a while and feel welcome.’”
Gritter said, “This ministry has enabled us to build relationships with people in our community we would never have known. It’s become more than a mercy ministry. It’s become a consistent place for people to gather for fellowship.”