Inspired to help others
Making The World A Better Place
By Michelle Brenner
Three years ago, Nancy Bachman saw a church sign advertising a clothing give away. It reminded her of a time when she was struggling to afford clothing for her own growing family. She remembered what it was like trying to make ends meet during difficult economic times and she was inspired to do something to help others in similar circumstances. "I knew my church couldn’t do something that cost a lot of money," she said," but I thought this was something we could do."
At first, Bachman was uncertain that a clothing ministry would work at her own church, Bible Fellowship of Ephrata. "I wondered if people would come out of town so far," she said. In spite of her doubts, she decided to undertake the challenge. With the generous support of her church and family, Bachman started "The Community Closet," a place where local residents can get clothing for free.
On the first day of the clothing give away, Bachman’s doubts were dispelled when the church’s parking lot filled up with cars and people were lined up at the door an hour before opening. Since then, crowds have continued to gather, on the second Saturday of each month at Bible Fellowship’s door.
Although people come to the "Community Closet" for needed clothing assistance, they receive much more while they shop. Customers are invited to sit down at tables and enjoy complimentary coffee and doughnuts. Children are given crayons and paper to entertain them while their parents shop. The ministry also gives away household supplies and church volunteers are readily available to offer support to interested customers.
Bachman is clear about the intent of the clothing give away. "This is God’s ministry," she emphasized, "He pressed it upon my heart. Its purpose is for people to see the love of Christ. It’s a way for our members to help others. We’re just trying to be there for people."
Bachman and her team of volunteers try to demonstrate their love by generously giving their time to the ministry.
Running the Community Closet is an arduous task that requires lengthy preparation. In the weeks prior to the giveaway, as many as 300 items of clothing are collected and sorted by a team of church volunteers. On the day of the giveaway, volunteers are especially busy setting up tables, arranging clothing and waiting on customers.
In spite of the time commitment required to run the Community Closet, Bachman is enthusiastic about the impact it’s having. She is encouraged by its success and by the positive feedback of the patrons. "People are very grateful," said Bachman, "They even send us thank you cards."
Although Bachman appreciates the positive response to the Community Closet, she is not driven by the affirmation. She is a woman who serves as a lifestyle. In addition to managing the clothing ministry, she helps with her church’s youth program, does the bookkeeping for an international ministry and hosts a church home group.
In spite of all of her ministry demands, Bachman still finds time to work full-time and serve 28 family members holiday dinners in her home. Her ability to fulfill all of these endeavors seems to be nothing short of supernatural and perhaps it is. Bachman is a Christian woman who puts her faith into action, as she devotes herself to others and succeeds in making the world a much better place.
More CLOTHING, page A16