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Renton clothes bank outfits patrons for winter despite setbacks

At left, Raymona Keene, clothing bank manager and Sandra Hunter, assistant manager (at right) sort and arrange clothes for patrons at Renton Kiwanis Clothes Bank. The bank has been struggling in recent months to keep its doors open, operating with less grant money.  - Dean A. Radford, Renton Reporter
At left, Raymona Keene, clothing bank manager and Sandra Hunter, assistant manager (at right) sort and arrange clothes for patrons at Renton Kiwanis Clothes Bank. The bank has been struggling in recent months to keep its doors open, operating with less grant money.
— image credit: Dean A. Radford, Renton Reporter

The Renton Kiwanis Clothes Bank has been busy this holiday season fulfilling the clothing needs of its patrons and struggling to keep its doors open.

The bank, in the heart of downtown Renton, typically serves as many as 500 to 700 patrons per month.

There is no special need around the holidays, but the center is busy with people stocking up on socks, shoes, jeans, underwear and warm clothing.

The financial need is crucial at this time, however, said Susan Bressler, clothing bank director.

“The clothes bank has an extremely modest budget and low rent made possible by the Renton Area Youth and Family Services agency, whom we rent from,” said Bressler. “Our funding comes from several sources: the City of Renton Human Services grants and local service agencies and private contributors. This year, we applied for a grant from the City of Renton, and we received slightly over one third of what we asked for, leaving us scrambling to keep our doors open.”

Bressler went shopping on Black Friday for jeans for the clothes bank. It is a luxury afforded on the center along with shopping for underwear once a year.

“Fortunately, we have a very generous community that donates clothing,” she said. “We love to talk about underwear at the clothes bank. Kids need new socks and underwear.”

The jeans, purchased the day after Thanksgiving, were courtesy of a grant from the Rotary Club of Renton. It gave the clothing bank money for its Children’s Needs Fund.

Patrons of the store shop by way of referral from other social services agencies. The Renton Kiwanis Clothes Bank serves as many as 8,000 clients a year, 75 percent of whom are children, according to its website.

 

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