Calera expands annual clothing giveaway

By KATIE HURST/ Staff Writer

CALERA — More Calera residents will be staying warm this winter thanks to the kindness of neighbors. The city’s annual Acts of Kindness clothing giveaway is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 9. This year the volunteer group has moved the event to a larger location, allowing them to serve more of the community and give away more clothes.

Rebecca Krueger, AOK coordinator, said the giveaway outgrew its previous location at the Calera Community Center and has moved to the Calera National Guard Armory. Last year the group clothed more than 600 participants.

“We’ll have more space there and more people will be able to come through,” she said.

Each year, the AOK volunteer group gathers clothing donations to put in the makeshift store. Clothing items are arranged by category allowing participants to shop like they would in a real store. The only difference is all the items are free.

“We set it up like it’s a shop.,” Krueger said. “We want things to be clean and in good condition. We want it to be honoring to those that come through.”

The giveaway is open to the whole community and there are no qualifications to participate. Krueger said anyone can come through and shop at the giveaway. The group just asks that participants only take what they need.

“We recognize that all of us are subject to hard times,” she said. “We’re just neighbors helping neighbors. The rest we leave up to God to know who needs help and to meet the needs of those that come out.”

Items in the giveaway will include clothing for women, men, teens, children and infants. Coats, shoes and toys will also be available.

Krueger said the volunteer group hopes to provide more than just clothing during the giveaway.

“Our desire is to demonstrate love to the people around us so that we’re not just meeting a physical need but extending hope to them so they know people around them care,” she said.

The store will be open for shopping from 7 a.m. until the group runs out of clothing Oct. 9. Clothing donations will be accepted from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 6-8 at the armory. Krueger said all donations should be fall or winter garments that are clean and in good condition.

For more information or to volunteer call 668-0117 or e-mail caleraaok@hotmail.com.