St. John Bosco Outreach Store benefits from Day of Caring

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September may signal a change for your wardrobe as temperatures get cooler. Some people may completely shift their closets from summer clothes to fall or winter.

The St. John Bosco Catholic Outreach Store in Woodstock is doing just that. Winter clothes stored for the season are being shifted to the sales floor, while summer clothes are taken off the racks and moved to storage.

It is a big job for Karlene Webster, president of the outreach, who at 68 years old, is the youngest volunteer. The oldest is 86, with most volunteers in their 70s and 80s. As the youngest, Webster was the one to have to move the 200 storage bins from storage to the shop.

But thanks to volunteers from the United Way of Northern Shenandoah Valley Day of Caring Sept. 13, Webster had 10 extra people help shift the seasonal items and lift the heavy bins to the attic. Volunteers took personal time out of their workdays at the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) and The Choice Group, which provides employment assistance to those with disabilities.

“It’s a great help just switching out the rooms. It’s an enormous job,” said Webster. “What a blessing.”

The Day of Caring brings together teams of volunteers to help non-profit organizations across Winchester, Frederick, Clark, Shenandoah and Page counties. This year there were 150 projects and 1,200 volunteers.

The outreach store, opened in 1982, has 3,000 clients in Shenandoah County. It provides financial assistance, food and household items, clothing and have given away five cars through their car ministry.  

“If people need clothes to start school, they can pick out three outfits, shoes and underwear, and they can come back in three months because children grow,” Webster said. “If a man or woman needs to have an outfit for a new job or an interview we will totally outfit them.”

Volunteer Ian Mothorp, who recently started working at DARS, said he is excited to help the community. He saw an overlap of services between DARS and the store, especially with employment assistance.

“This is an excellent community resource for us to use,” he said.

Kim Wilhelm, a senior employment specialist with DARS, appreciated getting out into the community and learning more about the history. She also enjoyed volunteering with coworkers. “It gives us a chance to bond,” she said. 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018

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