Christmas came a week early for some local families that took advantage of Washington’s new non-profit Threads of Love clothing giveaway Saturday.





“We experienced a young lady the other day who said her mom is not putting up a Christmas tree this year because there will not be Christmas,” said Cindy Shufford, newly appointed president of Threads of Love. “That breaks my heart ... I told her to get her mother here, you will have Christmas, put the tree up.”


 

 

 

Christmas came a week early for some local families that took advantage of Washington’s new non-profit Threads of Love clothing giveaway Saturday.


“We experienced a young lady the other day who said her mom is not putting up a Christmas tree this year because there will not be Christmas,” said Cindy Shufford, newly appointed president of Threads of Love. “That breaks my heart ... I told her to get her mother here, you will have Christmas, put the tree up.”


The local non-profit organization takes gently used, donated clothing and gives it to local families in need. Shufford said they are currently helping about 1,000 people a month.


There wasn’t a giveaway in November so the group could get ready for the December one. 


Shufford said while they usually only have clothing to give away, they wanted to do something special for Christmas. 


“We had an idea of doing something just off-the-wall for Christmas,” Shufford said. “We (had) new toys, household things, decorations — everything we could get our hands on that was new.”


Those families that came Saturday thought it was going to be just like previous clothing giveaways. That was until Shufford and other volunteers — some dressed as Santa and his helpers — announced they had new toys and trinkets.


“I told them our theme was Christmas From Our Hearts to Their Families,” Shufford said. “They actually applauded and then I cried.”


Within 30 minutes all the new gifts were gone. 


“It was the most beautiful Christmas gift ever just to watch this happen,” Shufford said. “People were so excited they were crying and hugging all of the volunteers. They left with gifts all wrapped and ready to put under the tree.”


“This is my Christmas. I don’t think about Christmas being a week after this.”


What began in January of 2009 as a monthly clothing drive at Crossroads United Methodist Church in Washington, has become something the whole church community can rally around.


The organization has nine active churches: Crossroads, Evangelical United Methodist, Sunnyland Christian, Washington Christian, St. Patrick’s, St. Mark’s Lutheran, First Presbyterian, First Baptist and Our Savior Lutheran.


After deciding to enlist the help of other churches, the monthly clothing giveaway rotated from church to church serving hundreds of locals in the process. 


Also as of Saturday, the organization now has a permanent home “in the heart of Washington.”


“This way we’re not bouncing around truck loads of stuff (from church to church) ... and packing and unpacking boxes every time,” Shufford said. “It just fell into place.”


The moving has already begun.


If people are wanting to help in some way, Shufford said they need able bodies to clean the new storage area and help move things from the churches. She said they will accept donations in due time, but not at the moment.


Shufford said they will have different teams to help make sure the organization is run at a high efficiency. She said they have yet to work out all of the details with store hours, but will probably be open two days a week for people to come in and drop off any items.


During the whole process of establishing themselves as a non-profit and moving, Shufford said it was important that they didn’t lose any of its nine active churches.


“That makes a huge statement in this community, especially to unchurched people that think there is such a huge division in the Chrisitian religion,” Shufford said. “We’ve made a very good blended family doing this mission together.”


If anyone is interested in volunteering with Threads of Love, contact Cindy Shufford at 444-8036 or Kim Taylor at 712-6493.