October 23, 2021

One shirt at a time

Clothing Closet in Groton provides a free option

Shenandoah Briere/contributing photographer

Karla Hoag checks out a shirt while picking out clothes Saturday at the Groton Clothing Closet’s new location 160 Main St. The store provides 10 clothing items for free to people every month.

Karla Hoag walked around, scanning each rack until her eyes landed on one full of women’s shirts. She rummaged through the rack until she found a top she liked and took it off to get a closer look.

Hoag is one of dozens of people who live in Groton or the surrounding area and visit the Groton Clothing Closet to get free, gently used clothing.

“I think it’s great,” Hoag said. “I used to go to their other location.”

Sandra Rivera operates the closet and held the grand opening of her new location, 160 Main St., Groton, on Saturday.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” Rivera said Saturday about the opening. “We’ve been working on this for six months.”

Each month people from Groton and surrounding communities can come and get 10 free items – from shirts and pants to socks and shoes.

Clothing Closet hours

The Clothing Closet hours of operation are:
TIME: 10 a.m. to noon
WHEN: Second and fourth Wednesday and every Saturday
WHERE: 160 Main St., Groton

Rules for donations

• Items are accepted during the hours of operation
• Accepted items include purses,shoes, socks, ties and other clothing.
• Items must be clean and gently used.

The closet started in 2013 at 121 1/2 McKinley Ave. in a duplex that was owned by Groton Assembly of God Church. The duplex was the home of the Groton Women’s Community Center. The volunteers at the center had been accepting clothing donations over the years and storing them in one half of the duplex. When Rivera became a volunteer she saw the clothes and knew they needed to be used for something.

“I just felt like there was a purpose for the clothes,” she said. “It’s been a passion of mine to make sure people’s needs are met.”

However, as more clothes came, space in the duplex quickly became limited and so she had to convert a bedroom and living space to fit more hangers.

“We were quite cramped,” she said. “It was quite difficult to move around.”

With the new location there is enough space for people to move around and really look at items, Rivera said. She noted the new space is about double the size of the old location.

“We’ve had more people here in the first 5 minutes than on Wednesday,” volunteer Butch Nagy said Saturday during the opening.

“I think that’s going to change as the word gets out,” Rivera replied.

Rivera said she hopes she can help more people and that more people will donate items they don’t need.

In 2018 she said she saw about 68 people.

“I think there is a need for something like this everywhere,” Hoag said.