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Richville clothing mission

A community project that started in a 10 x 12 foot shed has now expanded into a growing clothing mission taking over the entire basement of Richville United Methodist Church.

As the demand for clothing has risen in the region, the Richville clothing shed has undergone several changes to stay abreast with the need. Today, the clothing shed serves families in five counties.

The mission, which was started in 2001, was soon in need of a larger space than the small shed provided. Soon after moving the mission into a mobile home, the decision was made to move it into half of the basement when the Richville church addition was completed.

With the entire basement now dedicated to the mission, volunteers are working on applying for grants to finish the construction work and upgrade the electricity. "In the last five months that we've kept track, the volunteers have put in over100 hours each month," said Terry Sullivan, a volunteer with the Richville mission.

Volunteers from local churches of various denominations have enlisted their aid. Perham's Calvary Lutheran Church generously helped by establishing a clothing drive in November. Zion Lutheran Church has donated quilts and contributed cash donations. Even the local schools have volunteered their assistance for the clothing mission.

"We've received donations from other churches in Henning, Ottertail and Perham," Sullivan reported. "We are the location, but selfless souls both donate and volunteer their time."

The 100 hours of volunteers' time each month appears to be paying off. The mission went from serving 1,042 people in 2006 to serving 1,565 people in 2007. In 2006, there were 1,579 bags of clothing distributed, rising to 2,309 bags in 2007.

"There's nothing we charge for. If people want to put in a donation they can, but we don't require it," explained co-chair Winnie Huwe. She said the money needed to operate the mission continues to come in from both private donors and area churches.

"We always need children's clothes infant to size 14, teen clothes, bedding of any kind, pillows, sheets, blankets, washcloths, and towels," said Huwe of some of their current needs. The mission also accepts kitchen items in good condition.

The Richville clothing mission is open every Tuesday afternoon from 1 - 4 p.m. and Wednesday evenings from 6:30-8:00 p.m. During these times, clothing is distributed and donations are accepted.

A fundraiser for the mission has been scheduled for Sunday, January 20. The pancake breakfast will go from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the senior citizens building in Richville. Part of the proceeds will go to the clothing mission.