Nonprofit to host free children’s clothing exchange Saturday

Published 4:31 pm Thursday, February 28, 2019

VANDALIA — A Cassopolis area nonprofit is asking parents to get a head start on their spring cleaning this week in order to help local children find some new clothing at a price every family can afford.

Our Father’s Family Keeper Ministries will host its first Free Spring-Summer Children’s Clothing Exchange Event from 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday at the Vandalia Youth Center, located at 18035 State St., Vandalia. Families are invited to attend the event, which will offer free gently-used children’s clothes, shoes and gear, donated to the ministries by community members.

Organizers are seeking donations from parents for the event, requesting gently-used children’s clothing size 0 and up that are clean and stain free. Summer apparel is preferred, organizers said. Community members may also drop off shoes, books, toys and other items their children have outgrown or no longer use.

“[We are requesting] anything your kids don’t use anymore that still has some life left in it,” said Bianca May, the co-founder of OFFKM and one of the organizers of Saturday’s clothing exchange.

The Vandalia-based nonprofit is asking for the public’s help the evening before, as well. Volunteers may stop by the youth center from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday to help organize and set up the donated clothing items.

May, the executive director of OFFKM, said the children’s clothing exchange is similar to the popular Mom-2-Mom sales hosted across the Michiana area, where parents can find gently-used donated clothing items for their children — the main difference being that OFFKM’s exchange will not charge families for items.

“This is purposely scheduled a week before the Mom-2-Mom [sale in Granger],” May said. “Whatever they can’t find here, they can find at the event in Granger for a really low price.”

OFFKM has organized similar clothing exchanges in the past, though they were between individual families the nonprofit provides assistance to, May said. The nonprofit will open up the event to the public for the first time Saturday, and, depending on how well the exchange goes, organizers may start hosting it biannually, once in the spring/summer and once in the fall/winter, May said.

The nonprofit — which May and her husband, Curtis, formed in 2012 — is using the exchange to further its mission of trying to “be the village” in Vandalia, replicating a sense of unity and communalism May said she experienced growing up. OFFKM offers a growing number of services to that end, including youth educational programs, child care for children of working single parents and transitional housing, May said.

“We’re always trying to find needs in the community we can fill in,” she said. “We’re always out in the community talking and advocating. People always let us know what they need.”

Those who wish to donate clothing for Saturday’s exchange may arrange drop-off or pickup by calling (269) 476-1257. Those interested in learning more about OFFKM may visit