The Renton Kiwanis Clothes Bank celebrates its new location with city and chamber representatives Oct. 16, 2018. Haley Ausbun/ Staff photo.

The Renton Kiwanis Clothes Bank celebrates its new location with city and chamber representatives Oct. 16, 2018. Haley Ausbun/ Staff photo.

Kiwanis Clothing Bank will shutter unless it can find a new home

The clothing bank has been supporting Renton for over 50 years, but has had trouble finding a new home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2018, Kiwanis Clothing Bank leadership was over the moon— they’d found a location for the clothing bank, that offers donated clothes and other supplies for free to vulnerable folks and families in Renton. The location was next to a main bus route and had enough room for storage and sorting. It also allowed them to make it feel to patrons like they were shopping in any regular thrift store, with the exception of not needing to pay at the end.

The Renton Kiwanis Clothes Bank celebrates its new location with city and chamber representatives Oct. 16, 2018. Haley Ausbun/ Staff photo.

The Renton Kiwanis Clothes Bank celebrates its new location with city and chamber representatives Oct. 16, 2018. Haley Ausbun/ Staff photo.

But the new home was temporary, Renton School District told them from the beginning it would eventually be used for more district transportation space, according to the clothing bank.

Unfortunately, Kiwanis Clothes Bank Advisory Board President Jon Pozega said the Coronavirus pandemic has made it difficult to find a new home, which they’ve been searching for since March. Now, if they can’t find a new location before 2021, the clothes bank’s 55-year run will come to an end.

“And we really don’t want to do that,” Pozega said. “The service we provide for the community kind of speaks for itself and it’s something we’d truly like to be able to continue.”

The Kiwanis Clothing Bank began as a service for parents at Renton schools over 50 years ago, and grew into a service provided to all, with support of local social service agencies. He said they try to create a space that offers as much dignity as a real life shopping experience.

Pozega said Renton School District and the rest of Renton has been very gracious with the clothing bank over the years and that the location of the clothing bank the last couple years has been a great deal. Many folks came to use the clothes bank in the new location.

For now, the donations, racks and hangars for the bank are being stored at a storage space courtesy of Stor-House on Third Street.

The clothing bank hopes for a new space that would have at least 2,500 square feet, to create both retail space and the storage space. Pozega said they can do a smaller size, but it becomes more difficult to store donated items before staging them for patrons. It’s also imperative the new location is near a bus line to offer easy access for clients.

“Renton is such a giving community that it has been a great relationship since the clothes bank opened in 1965,” Pozega told Renton Reporter in 2018. “We’re always on the street corner with our hand out asking for money because that’s what keeps us in business.”

And now, the clothes bank asks again, but this time for a new home.

Those with leads on a new location can contact Pozega directly at 253-261-6628 or visit rentonkiwanisclothesbank.org.


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