Clothes for the body and gospels for the spirit are what a program of First Baptist Church plans to give the community.
The church at 500 N. Pennsylvania Ave. is reopening its Jireh Ministry Wednesday.
Named for an Old Testament word for God and meaning the “Lord will provide,” Jireh Ministry, which provides clothing to those in need, has been closed for about a year as the church renovated the Moore building on its campus and volunteers utilized that time to reorganize the operation. The repairs and remodeling were necessary after flooding to the building last winter, said director and volunteer Caree Slusher.
First started about 30 years ago, Jireh provides apparel, shoes, belts, hats, purses and such to those in need — babies to adults, girls and boys, men and women. All types of items are available, from formal dresses for little girls to business suits for those going on a job interview, Slusher said.
“The whole goal is to fulfill the great commission, which is to create disciples of Christ. To do that, we live the great commandment, which is to love our neighbor as ourselves,” she said. “This ministry is one of the ways we show love to our neighbors.”
The shop will be open on Wednesdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Organizations such as Harvest Ministry and the Assurance Home also sometimes arrange appointments to meet at Jireh when they are aware of people with immediate needs, and Slusher added that Jireh volunteers work with other churches and social organizations to refer people among themselves for assistance.
Those who come to Jireh for clothes must prove their financial need, Slusher said, and they also will participate in a devotional with a church member for about 10 minutes.
“We are seeking to meet not only physical needs but spiritual needs,” said Pastor Aaron Colyer.
The church also coordinates an annual coat drive before Christmas. In 2017, almost 200 coats, including many brand new ones, were donated, so even after distributing coats to those in need before the holiday, the church had some left over to give to the Jireh Ministry, Slusher said.
Because of many donations of coats as well as other items over the past year, donations from the community are not being taken at this time, she added, as volunteers continue to sort through and organize the apparel and other items already on site.
“We do want to express gratitude to the community at large,” said Colyer to those who already have contributed to the effort.
Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.