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Clothed by Faith grows to meet needs

Clothed by Faith recently opened a new section in its expanded space at 802 Dominion Drive, Suite 100. That space includes an area where women clients may shop for clothes they need said Rebecca Earnshaw, executive assistant. marketing, events development manager, as she displays one of the tops from that section.

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Clothed by Faith recently opened a new section in its expanded space at 802 Dominion Drive, Suite 100. That space includes an area where women clients may shop for clothes they need said Rebecca Earnshaw,

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Photo: Karen Zurawski / Karen Zurawski

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Clothed by Faith recently opened a new section in its expanded space at 802 Dominion Drive, Suite 100. That space includes an area where women clients may shop for clothes they need said Rebecca Earnshaw, executive assistant. marketing, events development manager, as she displays one of the tops from that section.

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Clothed by Faith recently opened a new section in its expanded space at 802 Dominion Drive, Suite 100. That space includes an area where women clients may shop for clothes they need said Rebecca Earnshaw,

… more

Photo: Karen Zurawski / Karen Zurawski

Clothed by Faith, a Katy nonprofit, does more than provide clothing to those in need. Kindness and compassion are part of the package, too, as the group also raises community awareness of need.

Abi Morton, founder/executive director of Clothed By Faith, talks of a huge blessing for the nonprofit which started from humble beginnings as she looks over newly renovated and expanded space across from Kingsland Baptist Church. “I never envisioned this.”

Clothed by Faith will mark its sixth anniversary in July and now provides new and gently used clothing to those in need from two sites with talk of expansion to serve a greater number of people. Since July 2013, it has served more than 41,000 people.

The nonprofit is funded by grants, foundations and donations. The charity website says a $10 donation is enough to provide a person with clothing for one week. And, Clothed by Faith is one of six charities that will benefit from proce raised by the third annual Katy Color Run 5k/10k/1k Kid’s Dash on March 23 at Kingsland Baptist Church.

Morton and her family moved from the United Kingdom to Washington, D.C., and then moved to the Katy area. She describes herself as always having had compassion but it wasn’t until she moved to Katy that she felt a real tug to serve the underprivileged.

Her efforts initially were housed in a garage. The nonprofit also operated from Mason Creek Business Park and then more recently accepted an offer from Kingsland Baptist Church to occupy about 2,500 square feet in a center at 802 Dominion Drive, Suite 100. With the relocation in the center of Hope Impacts, a nonprofit serving the homeless, Clothed by Faith added another 1,500 square feet which it renovated last fall.

Reopened in January, the nonprofit has more open working space. Rebecca Earnshaw, Clothed by Faith executive assistant to the executive director and marketing events and development manager, said a lot of walls came down during the renovation, which “will allow us to work in a more efficient way and ultimately serve more people.”

Office space is on the left as one enters. Beyond that, the center now houses a new area where women clients can shop for their clothes. The clients 18 and older can make an appointment to pick out a combination of tops and pants/skirts and accessories.

“It’s so new, we’re working through the kinks,” said Earnshaw, For example, they’re trying to determine how many appointments per day they can accommodate. Visit www.clothedbyfaith.org for details. Clothed by Faith also has coats, jewelry and purses and can help a client prepare for a job interview. They also keep diapers, blankets and shoes on hand.

Turning right as one enters the building, visitors see areas of bagged donated clothing designated by gender, age and size.

Bags of clothing are prepared for clients. A bag designated for a woman could have five bottoms, seven tops, two dresses and a pair of shoes — enough clothes for a week.

At the rear of the building are long tables where donations are sorted. The nonprofit accepts gently used clothing to share with clients in addition to new underwear and socks that it provides. Certain age groups, such as boys and girls over age 12, are in need of more donations because of demand.

Clothed By Faith works with schools to help students whose families are struggling. It’s all about “learning and understanding what is needed,” said Morton. “We’ve come a long way.”

“We partner with schools or churches,” continued Morton. For example, after Hurricane Harvey hit the Katy area, Clothed by Faith assisted survivors through a partnership with CrossPoint Community Church.

Clothed by Faith’s Deer Park site serves southeast Houston from inside Deer Park First Baptist at 438 E. 8th St., Deer Park. “It works great,” said Morton. “It’s free space.”

It also has a mobile unit to extend its outreach and take to areas of need as it did after Hurricane Harvey when it loaded up and went to serve clients of Katy Christian Ministries.

Volunteers were affected by Hurricane Harvey but turned up anyway to help, said Earnshaw. “It touched us more and gave us a different insight.”

Clothed by Faith averages 200 volunteers. More volunteers are needed. Volunteer shifts are 10 a.m.-noon, noon-2 p.m. and 2-4 p.m. Volunteers are asked to sign up for a minimum of two hours. Warehouse volunteers must be at least 14 years of age. An adult volunteer must accompany all 14- and 15-year-old volunteers. Training is provided for volunteers who can sort donations, assemble client bags, participate in community outreach events or run errands and help with chores around the warehouse.

“We have high standards,” said Earnshaw as she talked about the sorting of donated clothing. Clothed by Faith not only gives clothing to clients. “We give love and dignity,” said Earnshaw.

Earnshaw talks, too, of offering a learning experience to groups, such as Scouts, who tour the facility. They learn what it means to volunteer and why people sometime have to come and ask for help.

karen.zurawski@chron.com

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