Calera Acts Of Kindness clothing give-away Oct. 8

Emma Krueger helps a shopper at the spring clothing give-away held at the National Guard Armory in Calera. (Contributed)

By MOLLIE BROWN / Community Columnist

With the current recession and storm damage that has affected our area, acts of kindness are more important than ever. There are people who perform these acts every day with no expectation of compensation or recognition.

Calera Acts of Kindness (AOK) was organized by people like this. They offer a helping hand to their neighbors in need. Since the fall of 2006, AOK has given free clothing to thousands of people on a Saturday in the months of March and October.

“We are not an official organization, we are simply neighbors coming together to help our fellow neighbors,” said Rebecca Krueger, an AOK coordinator. “We recognize that we’re all subject to hard times, all of us have been in a position of needing help from our neighbors.”

Donations come from as far away as north Jefferson County. Not only do people donate, but they volunteer many hours sorting, folding and hanging the clothing.

“Our goal is to be honoring to those in need,” Krueger said. “We ask that the items given to the drive be clean and in good condition. We work diligently through the week preparing for those that arrive to shop on Saturday. Our desire is that through meeting the basic need of clothing we will show the love of Christ.”

There are no requirements to receive the free clothing. No personal information is obtained and recipients shop for their items. Recipients receive a shopping bag and are asked to “take as much as you need, but not more than you need.”

Clean, gently-worn infant, children, teens, men’s and women’s fall and winter garments and shoes can be dropped off at the Calera National Guard Armory on 8th Avenue, M-F from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. through Oct. 7. Clothing will be distributed Saturday, Oct. 8 beginning at 8 a.m. and ends when there is no longer clothing or shoppers. Unclaimed clothing is donated to Daniel Cason Ministries in Birmingham.

More than 100 people have volunteered since 2006. I volunteered last spring, and the reward was awesome. I made new friends and got to fellowship with friends I don’t regularly see. And within the group of volunteers, I saw random acts of kindness — women brought cakes and pies for the volunteers, men stopped by to build clothes racks, prayers were lifted up for unspoken needs and there were hugs galore.

Volunteers are needed at the armory Oct. 5-8. For more information, email helpaok@gmail.com or contact Krueger at 281-1975.

Mollie Brown can be reached at dmjhb1@bellsouth.net.