New campus clothes closet open Fridays, seeking gently-used clothing donations — especially winter gear
UW-La Crosse faculty, staff and students have come together to help provide for clothing needs on campus.
A new community clothes closet officially opened Friday, Oct. 25. The Campus Thread is located inside Common Ground, 1334 Pine St., just south of the West Chiller Plant.
Clothes, bedding, shoes, accessories and winter gear are available for free for UWL community members who need them. The closet will be open from 10 a.m. -1 p.m. Fridays. Donations of clean, gently-worn clothes are also accepted during open hours.
High-demand items include sweaters, jackets and men’s clothing. Drives will be organized as needed to keep the closet full.
The bulk of clothing available now came from a clothing drive organized by The Campus Thread committee in residence halls, as well as donations from UWL Rec Sports.
UWL staff members, Taylor Wilmoth and Louise Janke, had the original idea for the clothes closet. “Our faculty and staff hear of this need from students and we see it on other campuses too. It is becoming very common,” says Janke.
The two say their idea became a reality when Rev. Ben Morris, of Lutheran Campus Ministry, had closet space available inside Common Ground.
“If the church doesn’t exist for things like this, it shouldn’t exist at all,” says Morris. “By having this space open for partnerships like this, we can fulfill why we exist – love God, love people and serve – that sums up what we do here.”
Morris adds when money is tight for students, clothing is one of the first areas they cut back.
The opening was possible with partners across campus committed to making it happen, including Laura Abellera, a graduate assistant in Campus Climate, and UWL students she is supervising who will work at the clothes closet. Garrett Denning, a graduate assistant in the UWL Pride Center, and volunteers from the center are also helping.
The planning committee includes: Janke, Wilmoth, Abellera, Denning, AJ Clauss, Amanda Goodenough, Willem Van Roosenbeek and Amanda Gasper.
“This is exciting – this is the day we’ve been working toward for two years,” says Wilmoth.
“Having the students involved has brought this boost of energy and excitement to it,” adds Janke.