Village Closet Close to Finding New Home for Children's Clothing and Gear
CUMMINGTON, Mass. — When the Village Closet, a Cummington-based donation center for infant and children's clothing and gear, lost its space in September, hundreds of families in western Massachusetts were left without access to free kids clothing and diapers that were desperately needed.
"Many families have come to rely on the Village Closet as a way to make ends meet," said Lisa Goding, program director at It Take a Village, the nonprofit organization which manages the Village Closet. In 2019 alone, the Village Closet distributed more than $130,000 worth of free baby clothing, diapers and gear to 1,500 families from 84 different towns throughout western Massachusetts.
While the organization searched for a new space, they also hosted several "pop-up" Village Closet events around Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden counties to make sure families started the winter off with the supplies they needed. Pop-ups at Berkshire Medical Center North in North Adams, Square One in Springfield, the Leyden Woods Community in Greenfield, Stanton Hall in Huntington, Mohawk Middle School in Shelburne Falls and the Bridge Family Resource Center in Amherst attracted more than 360 families, and distributed $24,000 in clothing, winter coats and diapers.
But now, the Village Closet is close to securing a new location in the southern Hilltowns.
"We are eager to announce the new location," Goding said. "We are just waiting on the agreement to be finalized and should have an announcement by early December."
Ready to go into that space is nearly $6,000 worth of baby and kids items collected by Westfield-based 4-H equestrian club "Horse Power," sponsored by Washstone Ranch.
"The girls and leaders have always had a focus of sharing with our community in whatever way we can," said local midwife Anne Vaillant, who said learned of the need the pop-ups were serving while the Village Closet was homeless and then mentioned it to her daughter's 4-H Club. "We decided to put out the word for clothes, and were amazed at the response."
Before the new space can open, though, It Takes a Village must first secure many of the supplies and equipment lost in the move.
"The town of Cummington was so generous with the previous space," said development manager Mollie Hartford. "There were tables and shelves available for us to use, but now we need to purchase that equipment ourselves."
The nonprofit expects to spend nearly $15,000 on the relocation, an expense that was not anticipated in their budget, which includes funding for programs that include a Home Visit Program for new parents, parent support groups and free educational workshops.
To help ensure that new families can continue to access vital postpartum resources, It Takes a Village will host their year-end fundraiser on Giving Tuesday, Dec. 3. All donations are tax-deductible, and will go directly to programs that support new families in Western Massachusetts. More information is available online or by calling 413-650-3640.