Deb Malewski
Contributing Writer

After three years of providing free clothing and accessories to the community, the Griffith United Methodist Church, located on South Clinton Trail in Eaton Rapids is passing their clothing ministry program on to the Springport Bible Church.
The Covid-19 situation has contributed to the situation, explained Linda Babcock, a volunteer at Griffith Church. The Methodist General Conference, the governing body for member churches decided that it was just too dangerous for older volunteers who tend to be more at risk to the coronavirus, to be present at events that draw a large number of people, as the clothing give-away does. They also cannot accept any clothing donations at this time.
“We didn’t know if we would ever open again,” Babcock said. The six volunteers who run the clothing bank met to discuss the future of the program. They decided to offer the program to the Springport Bible church, a non-denominational church. Approximately 50% of the visitors to the clothing bank come from the Springport area, and the Springport church was building an addition to their church which would give them the room to host the event.
They met with Springport’s pastor, Matt Rohde, who coincidently had just been talking to his wife, Angela, about her ideas of opening a clothing bank through their church. They agreed to take the program on.
“What an example of showing the love of Christ,” Angela said, about the clothing give away program. “We wouldn’t have room without the addition on the church.”
“Something just lifted off my shoulders,” said Griffith volunteer Kathi Graves.
The Griffith Church program averaged 100 people each day they were opened. It took many hours for the volunteers, all seniors, to prepare for the event each month.  There was no limit to how much was taken, only that you take what you and your family need. There were 16 tables full of used clothing, shoes, coats, hats and mittens, purses, and other accessories at the event, plus almost a dozen racks of clothes. People from the Springport area, Eaton Rapids, Albion, Homer, Jackson, and Leslie attended the event at Griffith.
“We’re excited for the fact that the clothing bank will have a new home,” said Babcock.
The Springport Bible Church is located at 240 Mechanic Street in Springport. They hope to be ready to open the doors to the clothing ministry in November, with the days it will be open still to be determined. It will be promoted to the community through the same channels as before, including Facebook. There are no income requirements or stipulations to visit the clothing bank.
The Springport church hopes to involve students who might need community service credits for graduation in their clothing bank. “We would love to have your help,” Angela said.
Other facilities in the area that normally help with clothing and related accessories are also closed to the public, including St. Peter Church and the SIREN Shelter, due to Covid-19 concerns. The Eaton Clothing and Furniture Bank in Charlotte which is located at 135 South Washington does offer clothing assistance, however.
You can find both the Griffith United Methodist Church and the Springport Bible Church on Facebook.