by Katy Meyer
I had the opportunity to interview Arlene Miller, one of 3 main volunteers at the Kids Kloset clothing outreach ministry at St Luke’s Episcopal Church in Bay View. Kids Kloset has been serving families for over 25 years. When asked how Kids Kloset began Arlene states, “One priest asked one girl if she could make a layette and she said yes… and it just snowballed from there!” Arlene credits Dolly Seidel as an amazing organizer who set up the system of sorting clothes by season and size. She reports that use of Kids Kloset this year is “a little slower” (usual is 500-600 per year), and that an average year includes distributing 80-90 layettes. Layettes for newborns include bottles, clothing, blankets, body care, starter wipes and diapers, etc. Kids Kloset offers families the opportunity to fill one bag of clothing for each child. There is no cost to the families for this service, and they can visit every 4 months with an ID. Kids Kloset has no eligibility requirements.
Arlene reports that clothing in sizes 0-14 is accepted, but they are especially in need of boys and girls clothing sizes 4-8, as well as jackets, boots and shoes in good condition. She adds, “We are always short on socks and underwear!” They also have a lady who is able to replace zippers if needed. The largest donation to the program comes annually after the Greendale Rummage Sale, explains Arlene. If you don’t have clothes to donate, consider shopping rummage sales or secondhand stores for items to share with Kids Kloset. Items can be new, used or handmade and should be clean. If you would rather share your time, volunteers are welcome to help sort clothes. Kids Kloset is open Monday 12-3, Tuesday 10-1 , and Wednesday 12:30 -3:30pm, but closed when Milwaukee Public schools close. LOOK FOR our Kids Kloset wicker collection basket in the Gathering Space to make your donation!