The clothes have been collected, the dates are in place and with a little bit of much-needed manpower, the inaugural Oakdale Community Closet event is set to go off without a hitch.
The first time free event is set to take place on Saturday, Aug. 11 at Gene Bianchi Community Center between the hours of 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Organizers Cherilyn Bairos, Amy Schiveley Velasco and Lisa Lucero Ballard have been busy the past two months collecting clothing for the event. To date the generosity of the community has filled close to two storage units.
Now the team needs muscle and volunteer power.
In order for the vision to become reality, the team of three is in need of help with a few critical details. The first of which will happen on Tuesday, Aug. 7, as they unload the two storage units located at Hi-Tech Parkway and transport everything to the community center.
“We really need help with that,” Bairos said of loading a horse trailer with the goods on Tuesday morning at 9 a.m.
She anticipates it will take about two hours, noting it would be ideal if they could get the help of a few strong young people looking to earn some volunteer hours.
“We’re in two-plus,” she said of the storage units donated by Richard Murdoch. “My front porch looks like I’m getting kicked out of my house from all the donations. I think it’s wonderful.”
Once the clothing is unloaded at the community center, the next step for volunteers will be on Friday, Aug. 10 as they sort and organize the endless amount of clothing. Volunteers are needed that day, for any duration of time between 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The open space of Gene Bianchi Community Center will be transformed to a space filled with new and gently used clothing for children and young adults of all sizes.
“We just want to share it with everybody,” Bairos stated of the event she dreamed up one night when inundated with outgrown clothing from her children.
“We really need volunteers the day of and with organizing and set up. We’d like at least ten more high school kids to help us day of,” she continued.
In total, the organizing trio anticipates they will need about 45 volunteers to pull the event off.
“We’ve had a lot of good response from the community,” she said, “but we can use more volunteers. People can come as little as an hour or all day to help (on Saturday).”
The generosity of the community and the hard work and dedication of Velasco and Ballard, are the two things which stir up emotion in the brainchild of the project. Bairos described the ladies as “simply awesome” and the community as “amazing.”
“I cry when I go to the storage. I cry,” Bairos admitted. “People are donating brand new things. I didn’t think how big it was going to be. I didn’t know how much and I don’t think we’ll truly know until August 7 when we unload.”
While the event and items are free to the community, the committee requests attendees bring their own bags. A donation of large black trash bags has also been requested for anyone looking to donate.
For additional information or to offer volunteer time, contact Bairos at (209) 496-1134.