Evansville Ecumenical Care Closet marks 10 years
IF YOU GO
What: 10th anniversary open house for Evansville Ecumenical Care Closet
When: 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday
Where: 206 S. Madison St., Evansville.
Regular hours for Care Closet: Noon to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays.
EVANSVILLE The team of about 65 volunteers that runs the Evansville Ecumenical Care Closet sometimes has a little too much fun.
“I tell the ladies in the back room sometimes they have way too much fun,” co-manager Dorothy McElroy joked.
But their thousands of volunteer hours over the past decade have helped serve hundreds of local families struggling to stay afloat. The Care Closet will mark its 10th anniversary with an open house Sunday.
Volunteers from St. John’s Lutheran Church, St. Paul Catholic Church, Congregational United Church of Christ, Oak Grove Church, Evansville United Methodist Church and Cooksville Lutheran Church run the Care Closet. It started from St. Paul’s food pantry and now is located at 206 S. Madison St., McElroy said.
“We felt there was a need and started looking for a place, found this, and that’s how it goes,” she said.
The food pantry every month serves an average of 125 Evansville School District families who meet the pantry’s guidelines, said McElroy, who co-manages the facility with Betty Jeske and Phyllis Applebee.
The store also sells donated clothes and household items, and the sales pay the organization’s bills and buy food for the pantry.
The store is trying to change its image, and everyone is welcome, McElroy said.
“It’s not just for poor people,” she said. “You’re spending money to buy food for people.”
She’s “very, very impressed” with the people that seek the pantry’s help.
“Most of my people are really, really trying,” she said.
She’s seen more people moving in together to get through tough times.
The Care Closet is only open 13 hours a week and is staffed by mostly retired volunteers. The only payment volunteer drivers receive is a mileage reimbursement for deliveries. The ministers from each of the participating churches make up the overseeing board.
“We’ve been very successful,” McElroy said.