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The Deer Park Community

Deer Park organization gives the gift of dignity

Written by Bobby Vasquez. Posted in Community

CLothedbyFaithIN OUR COMMUNITY
One Deer Park organization is helping families receive the gift of dignity through the donation of gently used clothing. This week, Melinda Stephenson, who founded the Deer Park/Southeast Houston branch of the organization, spoke to the Deer Park Rotary Club.

In July of 2013, Abi Morton chose to reach out to struggling families in her Katy community. Through Clothed by Faith, families receive donations of gently used clothing and new supplies of undergarments and socks. She started the organization out of her garage.

In 2017 Deer Park resident Melinda Stephenson founded the Deer Park branch of Clothed by Faith. She spoke to the Deer Park Rotary Club about the organization’s mission and how it has reached out to families struggling in this area.

“Deer Park is a great community but we still have families in need,” she said. “Clothed by Faith demonstrates God's love through the provision of clothing to those in need. Our goal is to make a difference in the lives of those who lack the resources to afford quality clothing.”

The group gives a bag of clothes containing a week’s worth of clothing along with new undergarments and socks. Clothed by Faith also provides shoes if there are some available.

“We help adults and children. We help whole families. It just depends on the requests that come in,” Stephenson said.

The Deer Park branch of Clothed by Faith started in a storage rental facility and is now housed at Deer Park’s First Baptist Church. Through connecting with Deer Park ISD, local churches, CPS and other organizations, Clothed by Faith Deer Park as helped 300 clients over its first six months.

Clothed by Faith Deer Park also partnered with San Jacinto Baptist Church to provide clothes at its Back to School Bash.

“A lot of times, when we give school supplies, some children need more. The church gave backpacks that were specific to each child. Every child who got a backpack received a bag of clothes with a week’s worth of clothing,” she said.

During the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Clothed by Faith Deer Park was the epicenter of clothing donations in the community. An army of volunteers assisted the group with distributing mountains of clothing donated by area residents unaffected by the storm and flooding.

“We were able to help a lot and then when school started a few weeks later. Once people figured out where they were going to live and what they were going to do, they needed clothes to go back to school and go back to work,” Stephenson said. “We consistently had people coming through.”

Clothed by Faith also assisted requests from Deer Park ISD and Pasadena ISD, among others. Stephenson said the organization assisted approximately 1,600 clients immediately after Hurricane Harvey.

“In 2017, our goal was to reach about 1,500 people, and we reached 3,000 clients,” she said. “The most rewarding part of all of this is to visit with people who come to get clothing.”

Stephenson said the group assisted a student who did not want to go to school because their classmates knew that they did not have all the clothing. “Clothing makes a difference. How you dress and how you present yourself is important. If we can help people have quality clothing when they can’t afford it, that’s our goal,” she said.

Sometimes that goal includes fulfilling needs that come with heart wrenching stories. Stephenson told the story of a young elementary student who had only two pairs of pants. The mother of the child was considering taking out a loan so that the she could clothe the student.

Clothed by Faith is open Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Deer Park. The group is looking for more volunteers, including groups. In 2018, Stephenson would like Clothed by Faith Deer Park to help 5,000 clients.

Clothed by Faith is also seeking donations of gently used clothing and new socks, undergarments and financial contributions. Ten dollars can provide one person with enough clothes for a week while $40, can help clothe and entire family for a week.

“There’s not really another organization that does what Clothed by Faith does,” Stephenson said. “We’re trying to expand past Deer Park and Pasadena. Between us and the Katy organization, we’re trying to expand our base of the people we are helping and our ability to help people in a crisis.”

For more information on Clothed by Faith, visit www.clothedbyfaith.com or call 346-205-4144.