The Clothing Center, which gives free clothes and shoes to homeless and very-low-income Napa residents, will soon reopen its doors after a year’s hiatus at its old location on Second Street.
The center, which depends on financial donations from the community to pay the rent, will open Feb. 4 at its old location at 2473 Second St., said Glenna Gentry, a volunteer who manages the project run by Church Women United.
The Clothing Center left Second Street two years ago for cheaper space at a church on Laurel Street. But that arrangement fell through a few months later after the property was sold. In November 2011, the new owners asked Church Women United to leave the space.
The 25 volunteers were eventually forced to close the Clothing Center’s doors, putting clothes, shelves, desks and other furniture in storage, after they were unable to find an affordable space to lease.
“Donations had dwindled because of the economy. Things are a little better now,” Gentry said, referring to the financial donations from the community that allow the group to pay the $1,650 monthly rent. “This is the best that we can find,” she said Saturday, referring to the space on Second Street.
The need is there, Gentry said. “When we have people who come in who are homeless and in need of warm jackets or we have children who are going to school and don’t have any warm clothes to wear to school, you see these needs,” she said. “And it makes you realize the need that exists in our affluent community.”
Since being founded in 1964 at Napa State Hospital, the Clothing Center has occupied various locations around Napa, according to Church Women United, which began to manage the center in 1976. In 2009, the Clothing Center had 3,300 registered clients.
On Saturday, one of Gentry’s sons, Jonathan, and a group of teenage volunteers unloaded truckloads of items that had been kept in storage for a year, including shelves, clothes and signs. Jonathan’s nephew, Kyle Gentry, 16, and Kyle’s friends — Nolan Kelnhofer, 16, Abel Rueda, 16, Miles McArdle, 16, and Domenic Ruffino, 17 — also helped. Even Jonathan’s 4-year-old son, Luke Gentry, pitched in. Fazeratti’s donated pizza.
“It wasn’t bad,” Ruffino said, referring to the move.
Funding remains Church Women United’s main concern; the volunteers need about $2,000 a month to pay the rent and various expenses for the Clothing Center.
Gentry, a volunteer at the Clothing Center for more than two decades, hopes the group receives enough donations to keep it open.
“I can’t tell you what the future will be,” she said.