Edwardsburg church opens unique clothing pantry

EDWARDSBURG, Mich. - It looks like a new thrift store is opening in downtown Edwardsburg but that’s what they want you to think.

When you walk in front door of God’s Wearhouse near M-61 and US-12 it’s got that thrift store vibe to it. The only difference from a retail store is that a sign-in clipboard sits where you’d expect a cash register.

Hope United Methodist Church in Edwardsburg has spent the past year renovating an old storage facility into God’s Wearhouse. In conjunction with the church’s food pantry the store will provide free clothing to anyone who needs it.

Hope United Methodist wanted to create a store environment to take the embarrassment out of receiving free services. “We want you to feel comfortable while you’re here, we want you to feel welcome to walk through the doors,” said Robin Emenaker with Hope United Methodist. “It’s just like any store anybody would go to.”

Wednesday volunteers from the church sorted the good clothing from the bad. Another mission of God’s Warehouse is to provide high quality clothing to the twenty families the church serves each day.

“We want to treat them as Jesus would treat them,” said Nettie Russell, a volunteer with Hope United Methodist Church.

Emanaker said once the store opens some of its customers will become employees by volunteering and gain work experience. “They feel good about being able to work,” she said.

For the people that need to enter God’s Wearhouse, Emanaker said, you’d be surprised by the impact the facility will have. “If they are feeling good about what they have on, sometimes that helps their self esteem (and) helps their sense of worth,” she said. “Just like a kid taking a new backpack to school.”

God’s Wearhouse is set to open Monday August 27th.

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