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Holy Maternity of Mary Catholic Church to host clothing giveaway Saturday

DOWAGIAC — Holy Maternity of Mary Catholic Church is offering free clothes for everyone.

The church, located at 210 N. Front Street, Dowagiac, is hosting a “New-2-U Summer Extravaganza Clothing Giveaway” from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

Sponsored by charity organization St. Francis Outreach, the event will be outside and will have clothing for men, women and children as well as children’s books, towels and bedding, all available free of charge. There will also be household items available for a small donation.

“We’ve been doing clothing giveaways twice a year for the last five years,” said St. Francis Outreach member Donna Dodd. “This is what we do. A big part of what we do is giving away clothes. We open our doors to help out the community. Our clothing distribution with no cost to our clients is vital in these strained economic times.”

According to Dodd, volunteers work every Tuesday morning at Holy Maternity of Mary Catholic Church to organize the donated items for the giveaway events.

“St. Francis Outreach has 35 to 40 members,” Dodd said. “Everyone has a job. I fold clothes on Tuesday, and we probably have 15 to 20 volunteers on Tuesdays.”

The clothing giveaway will feature new or gently used clothes with no damages.

“People need clothes, and we want to give them to the people who need it,” Dodd said. “The community has been great about donating. We don’t provide clothes with rips or stains. We wouldn’t give away something we wouldn’t wear ourselves.”

St. Francis Outreach’s charity efforts have not gone unnoticed by the Dowagiac community.

Earlier this month, the Dowagiac Elks Lodge donated $2,500 to the organization, which is being used to fund Saint Francis Outreach’s Food Backpack Program. The program serves 180 children per week and consists of two breakfast, lunch and dinner meals per backpack. The four elementary schools and the middle school receive 35 backpacks each, with staff from each school deciding which students are most in need.

“It’s a great organization,” Dodd said. We’ve got a lot of community support. Ninety-five percent of the money that we do take in goes back into the community. Our biggest expense is probably getting stamps for thank you cards.”

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