Every Wednesday morning, East Lake Baptist Church in Killeen opens its clothes closet to the community, handing out free donations and offering fellowship to those in need.

“It’s extremely helpful ... ,” Pastor Floyd Gage said. “We’ve had many different people come in and get clothing and we’ve had many folks refer other people to us. It’s also led to many ministries.”

The closet is open year-round. Donations are brought in from members of the community as well as churches and local organizations.

“We go out ourselves and pick up items from Temple and Lampasas and we get a lot of donations from our church members, too,” said Carrie Bickham, director of the clothes closet.

“A lot of times when people move they will just bring all their stuff in that they don’t need.”

The "closet" is more like a small house filled wall to wall with hundreds of items. Racks, bins and boxes overflow with clothing and shoes for all ages, accessories, toys, books, home furnishings and electronics.

The amount of visitors per week averages around 10 people but the turnout really depends on a number of factors, Bickham said.

“Often if the weather is bad, we may not get anybody," she said.  When school was getting ready to start, we had 30 something people in here and it was really, really crowded. The holidays are a busy time, too.”

For more on this story, see the Religion section of Saturday's Killeen Daily Herald.

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