Community response fills local clothing bank in need



Posted on April 3, 2014 at 8:28 AM

Updated Thursday, Apr 3 at 12:25 PM

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. – Almost immediately after asking for help, Spokane Valley Partners staff saw the single largest response they’ve ever seen for their clothing bank: pounds and pounds of donations.

WATCH: Spokane Valley clothing bank desperately needs donations

Spokane Valley Partners, an organization that provides clothing, shelter and food to people in need, put out the call to help fill its clothing bank two weeks ago. The all-volunteer staff had seen families leaving empty-handed because their racks and shelves were nearly bare.

Now, donations have been pouring in and piling up. On Tuesday, community members dropped off 1,500 pounds of donations in a two-hour period. That’s equivalent to how many donations the volunteers usually weigh in two weeks.

Spokane Valley Partners development director Jennifer Schlenske said not only did the quantity of donations go up, but so did the quality.

“We’ve had men and women looking for career-type clothes,” she said. “(They) come in and say, ‘Gosh, it’s like shopping at a department store we actually get to get great stuff that we can use to go find a job.’”

Otis Orchards resident Missy Bliesner dropped off donations two days in a row. She said she saw the story on KREM and it gave her a good excuse to make a family affair out of cleaning out the closets.

“My daughter, who’s in preschool, helped me last night go through stuff,” Bliesner said. “She donated some toys, just so they learn how much they have and a lot of others don’t.”

“We’ve had kids be able to come in and pick which toys and books they wanted,” Schlenske said.

Spokane Valley Partners now has more than enough donations on-hand which should last them quite awhile. In fact, the drop-offs are spilling over into their spare rooms.

Schlenske said the benefit of the organization’s call for help has been two-fold: more people have become aware of Spokane Valley Partners as a location to donate and people who need the services have come forward. This past month, 40 new clients came to Spokane Valley Partners seeking services.