The Community Assistance Program (CAP) clothing bank is opening to the public Monday, July 19 in its new location at the former Freedom Community Church.
The clothing bank provides free clothing and linens to people in the Blaine, Birch Bay, Custer and Point Roberts communities.
“To be able to have all of this space to help people feels really good,” said Amee Nelson, CAP board director of clothing ministries. “CAP volunteers did really good work with what they had, but [the former bank] only a fraction of this size.”
Freedom Community Church donated the 4,000-square-foot church at 508 G Street to the local nonprofit last fall. CAP is made up of church volunteers who serve the community through crisis assistance, holiday gift help and Thanksgiving baskets, among other things.
The new clothing bank is more than double the size of the 8-by-40-foot shipping container that housed the previous clothing bank adjacent to Blaine Food Bank.
People can pick up four adult items and 10 children’s items per week, unless it’s an extraordinary circumstance such as a house fire, in which case people can receive more assistance. The clothing bank also provides blankets, towels and sheets.
Jan Schlack, CAP clothing bank director, said the clothing bank is always in need of men’s clothes, towels, blankets and school-aged children’s clothes. Most of CAP’s clothing was donated in 2018 and 2019, before the program shut down during the pandemic.
“We anticipate a change because a lot of people would stop in because they’re in line for the food bank and say, ‘Oh, the clothing bank is right here, I’m going to stop over.’” Schlack said. “It’s going to be more difficult for them to do that since we’re a few blocks away.”
In 2019, 30 volunteers ran the clothing bank that helped around 1,000 community members.
The new clothing bank will continue to operate during the same hours as Blaine Food Bank: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Monday and Friday, with additional evening hours 5-7 p.m. Wednesday.
To access the clothing bank, people should enter the church through the side entrance behind the gates. At this time, those who visit the clothing bank must be able to navigate stairs, but volunteers are working to install a ramp that was paid for through an anonymous donation.
Donations will only be accepted during clothing bank hours and volunteers ask no donations be placed outside the clothing bank.
People who want to volunteer with the CAP clothing bank can contact Jan Schlack at email@example.com. Volunteers need to sign up for one 3-hour shift every month. For more information on CAP, visit blainecap.org.
Correction: This article has been updated to clarify the hours CAP clothing bank is open.