Kids Closet to offer gently used children’s clothing in Niles

Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT — The Four Flags Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a grand opening at the Kids Closet at Ellis House Wednesday.

Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT — The Four Flags Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a grand opening at the Kids Closet at Ellis House Wednesday.

Those in the market for gently used children’s clothing have a new option in Niles.

The Kids Closet at Ellis House, a community ministry providing apparel for newborns through high school-aged youth, is scheduled to open next week at the former parsonage of the First Presbyterian Church in Niles.

Community liaison Dan Stenberg said the mission of the non-profit Kids Closet is to provide essential items, such as shoes, clothing and diapers, at an affordable price to those who need it.

“This is for everybody,” he said. “We want to think of these people as our neighbors and welcome them.”

Even if people cannot afford items at the Kids Closet, they won’t walk away empty-handed.

The Kids Closet offers gently used children's clothing.

The Kids Closet offers gently used children’s clothing.

Stenberg said people could donate their own gently used children’s clothing or volunteer to work at the Kids Closet in exchange for obtaining items.

“We won’t turn anyone away,” he said.

A dedication ceremony with food and refreshments is scheduled for 12:15 p.m. Sunday, May 15, at the Kids Closet at Ellis House, which is located at 11 S. 4th St., in Niles. The Kids Closet will not be open for business at that time.

The Kids Closet will officially open Tuesday, May 17.

Regular hours are from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesday, 2 to 4 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Those wanting to donate gently used clothing to or volunteer at the Kids Closet ministry should contact Linda Stenberg (Dan’s wife) at (269) 695-3774 or Arlene Richardson at (269) 684-2858.

Donations can be dropped off from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday at First Presbyterian Church, which is located at 13 S. Fourth St., in Niles (next to the Kids Closet at Ellis House).

Ellis House

The Kids Closet would not have been possible, organizers said, without the generosity of the late Edna Ellis, a longtime church member who willed her estate to the church in order to support community ministries.

In January, the church renamed its neighboring parsonage “Ellis House” in her honor.

The parsonage has remained unused since 2007 until church leaders decided to turn it into a children’s clothing ministry in keeping with Ellis’ wishes.

“When her endowment came along it was a way to get this started,” Linda said. “We’ve been told by people that there is a need for this.”

The Kids Closet, Dan said, is not a missionary exclusive to First Presbyterian Church. The steering committee which runs it is made up of representatives from several churches in the greater Niles community.

“We have people appointed from various churches who will help us, so it is an ecumenical committee,” Dan said. “This is communitywide.”

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