ANDERSON — Frances Weatherly stands in a room filled with neatly sorted clothing that will be given away and explains the essence of Allen Chapel A.M.E.’s clothes closet.

“If you are a person and you say, ‘I need,’ that’s all that matters,” Weatherly said.

She and church volunteers Merlene Johnson and Ruth Wilson opened the church’s door Thursday to anyone who needed free clothing or needed to donate for others. They’ve been doing so since December.

“We’re just trying to help the community.” Weatherly said. “People are suffering.”

Visitors to the clothes closet sign a slip of paper, get a shopping bag and may take what they need.

“I don’t put anything out that isn’t clean and presentable and isn’t something I wouldn’t wear,” Weatherly said.

On a typical Thursday, about 15 people visit to pick up or donate clothing, she said. Thursday, that many people had visited during the first of the four hours that the clothes closet is open.

Warner Lane and his daughter Tonia Lane were among them. They give and receive articles of clothing.

“They do an excellent job down here,” Warner Lane said. “It’s all about helping each other.”

“I just think it’s a great place,” said Tonia Lane. “With our family, I’ve not been able to work since ’07. “If I can come here and get a few things, it’s better for me, and I always bring stuff in, too.”

Church volunteers Johnson and Wilson sorted through donated items Thursday to get them ready to give away.

Johnson pointed out winter coats and sweaters. “They need to get in here while it’s summer. When it’s cold they’ll be gone,” Johnson said.

“I’m just happy to come and help someone,” Wilson said.

So are other church volunteers who’ve helped out. Weatherly said that last week bags of school supplies were given to anyone who needed them.

“Two ladies in the church — I didn’t ask them — decided to do this. Every bag had paper, pens, crayons, a ruler, glue ...”

Weatherly said representatives from the Pendleton Correctional Facility have visited the clothes closet to collect articles for inmates who are awaiting release.

For Weatherly, the clothes closet is a church outreach that has its own kind of reward.

“The more you give, the more you receive,” she said. “The church has really prospered by giving.”

Give or receive

Here is information for people who wish to receive free clothing or make donations.

What: Allen Chapel A.M.E. clothes closet, with free clothes for men, women and children in need. Also a limited selection of free shoes, hats, household items, books and toys.

When: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursdays.

Where: 1610 Sheridan St., 16th Street entrance bearing a clothes closet sign.

Contact Dave Stafford: 648-4250,

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