September 2, 2014

AuGres church donating clothes

By James Kuch
News Editor | news@arenacindependent.com
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AuGRES — For the third year in a row, the congregation of St. Paul Lutheran Church will be donating clothes to anyone in need.

Spokesperson Rick Gehringer said over 7,000 pounds of clothes have been given out to area residents and people across Michigan over the previous two years.

“We have had an incredible response from people the first two years,” he said. “We have new and gently used clothes for women, men, children. Everything is in good quality.”

Gehringer said there will also be shoes and boots available.

“We have gone through everything that has been donated and it’s all quality items,” he said.

Clothes are donated from three different areas, Gehringer said: Trinity Lutheran Church in Midland, Action Thrift Store in Saginaw and the congregation of St. Paul Lutheran Church.

He added that all items not given away will be donated to a church in Kentucky.

“Everything will get used, one way or another,” he said.

Gehringer said the event has grown over the past three years, adding 362 people have received clothing.

“Last year, 211 people came to gather clothing, and we handed out 4,600 pounds of clothes,” he said. “In our first year, 151 people came and we handed out 2,500 pounds of clothing.”

Gehringer said anyone in need of clothing is welcome to take as much as they need for themselves and their families.

“When people show up we give them a large black garbage bag and they can fill that and come back for another one if they like,” he said. “We don’t ask questions; we trust that the people who show up need the clothes.”

Pastor Tim Bender said he is proud of his congregation’s effort to help people in need.

“AuGres is known for being generous and helping others,” he said. ‘That’s what we are doing here.”

For Bender, helping the community is an important role for St. Paul Lutheran.

“There is a need out there that we can help people fill,” he said. “This congregation has done a really good job to make this event a success.”

Gehringer said he and his wife, Jill, got the event started in 2009 after seeing that Trinity Lutheran’s donation bin was going to the Salvation Army.

“Who knows where it was going from there,” Rick Gehringer said. “We saw a need at St. Paul and we saw a source in Trinity to help people. The people at Trinity were excited to help us.”

Gehringer said being able to help people is something St. Paul can be proud of.

“Our goal is to help people who need clothing get what they need,” he said. “We are going to keep doing this as long as there is a need for it.”

The event will take place on Saturday, Aug. 13 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at St. Paul Lutheran, located at 1264 S. Tonkey Rd. in AuGres.

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