Church Women United resale shop donates more than $144,000 to community groups
PRINCETON — The Closet resale shop in Princeton, which is run by Church Women United, donated $144,700 to 38 community organizations on Wednesday.
Last year was a good year in sales for The Closet, as the proceeds given away this week were 18 percent higher than the year before.
Shirley Johnson, president of Church Women United, was “pumped” about the giving this year.
“We’re pumped every year, because we’ve given away $1 million. But that’s been awhile ago. We are well on our way to $2 million,” she said.
At The Closet, the donated items from the community are resold to shoppers. The sale proceeds collected throughout the year are then donated back to local non-profit community organizations who submit applications for consideration.
Johnson said when The Closet began giving out its profits, there were very few organizations that received them.
“As we have grown, the need has grown. Your knowledge of us being here has grown. Consequently, this year, we received 12 new applications,” she said.
The increase in applications made for a tough job when it came to the selection process, but Johnson said after much “prayer and consideration,” the organization tried to bless as many as possible.
“If you think about it, do you realize how many people are touched by what the community does by donating, and we resell it? There are some organizations that touch hundreds of people. So in essence, that donation of your clothes hanging in your closet that you have not worn so you bring it here, that is touching hundreds of people. We’re doing a good thing. You guys are doing a good thing,” Johnson said.
This year, The Closet will be celebrating its 50th anniversary. The resale shop was started by two women who went on a mission to fulfill a need in Bureau County.
“We wouldn’t be able to do this without the support of the community and of our volunteers,” Johnson said.
The organizations selected to receive donations from The Closet this year were Prairie Arts Center, Roadmap Ministries, Cornerstone Community Wellness, Princeton Christian Academy, Buda’s Mason Memorial Public Library, Wyanet Food Pantry, Seed of Hope Farm, Bureau County Red Cross, Second Story Teen Center, Princeton Community Band, Princeton Buddy Bags, University of Extension 4-H, Arukah Institute of Healing Inc., Wyanet Historical Society, Bureau County Historical Society, Freedom House, Festival 56, The Learning Stage, Tabitha’s Hands, Princeton Ministerial Association, Bureau Valley Buddy Bags, Another Child Foundation, Farm Stew International, Gateway Services, Princeton Public Library, Bureau County Senior Center, Bureau County Food Pantry, Christmas For Kids, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Bureau County Young Life, Work Camp 2019, A Night to Remember —special needs prom, In-Home Care VNA, Illinois Valley Quilts of Valor, Western Bureau County Food Pantry, and Church Women United — the national, state and local organizations.
The Closet in need of volunteers
The Closet resale shop currently has more than 80 active volunteers, but more hands are needed to help keep the shop organized and running smoothly.
During Wednesday's gathering, store manager Jessica Peterson asked people to pass on the word that The Closet could use more volunteers. She said volunteers of all ages are welcome — from high schoolers needing community service hours to retired folks who can spare an hour or so on certain days of the week.
Shirley Johnson, president of Church Women United, urged that people reach out and lend a hand.
"We are giving to you; give back to us. That would be a wonderful thing," she said.