Stacks of cardboard boxes line the hallway at LifeBridge.
This ministry is an outreach of Southeast Christian Church that provides food, clothing, hygiene supplies and other needed items to ministries that walk alongside people in the community.
Teams of volunteers sort donated clothing by quality, season and size. Canned goods, hygiene items and household items go into separate bins. They are in high demand. Best donations go to a resource room where 20 partners in the community come monthly to shop for specific needs.
The rest is taken to partners in the community.
John Wilson, 86, manages a food pantry and clothing ministry at Sunnyside Church of God in Jeffersonville, Indiana.
“We help more than 500 families a month,” he said. “Everything is free. All our volunteers get is a cup of coffee and a doughnut, but they get a lot more as they serve. We meet people’s needs for food and clothing, then show them what they really need—Jesus.”
Wilson said outreach would diminish without donations from Southeast members.
Linda Gottbrath runs a clothing ministry on Southside Drive in South Louisville. A constant stream of people come for clothing, formula and diapers.
“When I get donations from Southeast, I know they are high quality,” she said. “They give me a lot. These donations help families survive.”
Requests for help come from schools, church outreach programs and ministries.
Community pastors at Southeast learn about needs from school counselors and case workers. One Jefferson County Public Schools high school created a laundry room for students who need a place to wash their clothes. LifeBridge donations helped stock the room with detergent and fabric softener.
Another school has a food pantry that a community pastor stocks with canned goods and packages of food such as breakfast bars so students will have enough to eat throughout the week.
Sometimes community pastors hear about a family rebuilding after a fire or tragedy and volunteers find specific donations to fit their needs.
There have been memorable moments sorting donations. One time a cat jumped out of a box and hid behind a wall of donations. The owner called a few hours later and kitty was returned.
Another time, someone brought a package of thawed steak. That helped no one.
Volunteers have sorted mink coats and new clothing with tags still attached, T-shirts and designer clothing. They imagine what those clothes may mean to those who get them.
“Our goal is always to provide ministries in our communities with the items needed by those they serve,” said LifeBridge coordinator Lisa Reynolds. “Our hope is that meeting their physical needs will open doors to share the good news of Jesus’ love.”
Out of season or extra clothing is sent to Master’s Provision in northern Kentucky. From there it is sent to ministries in Togo, Africa and Ukraine.
Things to donate:
School supplies, gently used clothing, hygiene items, canned and packaged food, toilet paper, diapers, unopened cleaning supplies.
Things not to donate:
Dirty or worn-out clothes, used underwear, used makeup, opened hygiene items, used hair brushes, paint, expired food, broken toys, Christmas decorations, computers, televisions.