Hill Country District Asks for Donations of Clothes: Lenten Disaster Relief Clothing Drive


Hill Country District’s annual Lenten collection officially began Ash Wednesday, March 6. We invite & encourage your church to catch up. We collect wearable used clothes until our partners, the Seventh-day Adventists, send their trucks to collect our collections. This year, the trucks should come the week of April 8-12 to have your space cleared out before the run-up to Easter. The exact schedule will depend on which churches participate and how much each collects. Yes, they can accept hats, belts, and shoes. No, they cannot take swimsuits or used underwear. 

Once they have the clothes we collect, the Adventists take it to their warehouse at Alvarado where it is sorted, sanitized, packaged, and stored until there is a disaster requiring used clothing, then they load their semi and have it parked outside the shelter door in the morning when survivors wake up. The Adventists are nationally known for this disaster ministry, and they tell us the Hill Country District’s collection gives them the most and highest quality clothing of any they have all year. 

Why not just wait for a disaster to collect? Because by then it’s too late. The post-disaster need for used clothing lasts only 24-48 hours. After that, survivors usually can acquire new. There are exceptions, of course, and the Adventists are prepared for that. There also is a difference between survivors who NEED free clothing and those who merely WANT it. NEEDS are short-lived in this case; WANTS are always there. By the time a local church can decide to launch a clothing collection, and run the campaign, then deliver the bags to the disaster area, the NEED is over, and the bags of mixed dirty clothes are just more trash for the landfill. That way doesn’t work. Ours does. 

More information will be forthcoming. The more churches we have participating, the more good we can do. 

Any church in the Rio Texas Conference is welcome to participate. This is the contact information or you can contact Pam at the Hill Country District Office, 830-896-6400, dispro512@gmail.com

Written by Pam Elliott


The Clothes Closet for Homeless Men Serves 20,000

It was about 8:15 AM Monday morning, on April 27, 2015, when volunteers of the Clothes Closet began arriving to begin set up for clothing distribution later in the morning.

The chairs had to be removed from the conference room and were arranged side by side down the hallway just outside the conference room.

The four tables were set in their assigned space so two would be used to serve customers from, one would hold the socks and underwear containers and the fourth would hold the plastic bins with short pants in them.

Next came five racks of clothes from the storage area. The racks were on wheels making it easy to move them. The sweater and suit rack first followed by the rack with trousers waist size 42 to 54 on the top bar and long sleeve shirts hanging from the bottom bar.

There were three more racks of clothes holding pants with waist sizes ranging from 28 through 40. On the bottom bar of those racks were short sleeve shirts, t-shirts, and polo shirts. These fit against the back wall of the conference room.

Now a table was set up in the storage area, next to the conference room. Filling the socks and underwear containers was next and then sorting through the donated clothing inspecting for acceptance. The guideline is, “If we wouldn’t wear it we don’t hand it out”.

This was a normal Monday morning. But, this was not a normal Monday morning. Today we were going to be serving enough customers to reach 20,000 total since the Closet began in October 1999.

There would be cake, refreshments, visitors and a gift card for the 20,000th customer.

This Clothes Closet had become a ministry over the years. We prayed for the customers before we began serving. In our prayer we always included, “Lord, God help us to see Christ in those we serve today and help them to see Christ in us.” The connectivity of the prayer changed each one of us and the atmosphere in that conference room.

Written by Ralph Eckwall, Coordinator for the Clothes Closet

Clothes Closet for Homeless Men opened in October 1999 after a request from the Austin Interreligious Ministries to the Capital District United Methodist Men's group. After five locations across town, they settled at present location at the Central Presbyterian Church on 8th Street and Brazos. 

The distribution includes:

  • Jeans, Khaki, dress pants or shorts
  • Polo or button down shirts
  • T-Shirts
  • Socks & underwear
  • Suits
  • Ties
  • Bible
  • Belt
  • Caps
  • Shoes
  • Coats
  • Sweaters
  • Hygiene items