The free clothing boutique has long been a volunteer-run operation at Jubilee, providing consignment quality clothing to low-income and homeless women in the community. This past year the boutique served 678 women, thanks to the volunteers who come in every day of the week to sort, organize, and help our clients find that special outfit.
With the large amount of clothing donations we receive, we have been looking to share the surplus clothing with more women in the community. Historically, we have done this through our “Partner Days” when organizations can bring their clients to shop at the boutique as a group. In early February we relaunched this project with a twist—bringing community partners to the boutique via our van. Since February we have served women from Elizabeth Gregory House, Mary’s Place, Tent City, and Chief Seattle Club.
Marti Spicer, Jubilee’s Companis worker, has been leading the project and driving the van out to the different sites to pick up the women and bring them to our free clothing boutique. Marti shared that the whole component of the outing has been really special.
“The service of the van says to the women that they’re special, and being picked up and taken for this outing brightens their day,” explains Marti. “It’s much bigger than just the clothes. They’ve all been able to find things that are useful to them, as a lot of these women are coming in with specific needs because they can’t stockpile stuff. Jubilee is trying to get more services out there to women in need and this is an opportunity to do that.”
On Partner Days Marti works with three of our boutique volunteers—Joanne, Barbara and Bryanna—who act as personal shoppers to the women. “It’s so lovely that we all work as a team. The volunteers step up while I’m parking the van and signing the women in. If the women are looking for a pair of jeans, for example, the volunteers are right there, looking to personalize their needs.”
Joanne says she loves meeting the women who come in and shop. “It has made me more aware of people’s situations and is always humbling and inspiring,” she says.
Barbara added that she works more behind the scenes at the boutique, selecting the best clothing to be put out on the racks, and is always amazed by the quality of donations we receive.
And as if on cue, a Jubilee alumna interrupted to say, “Even though we’re here for half an hour, the volunteers remember and address us by our names. A real healing goes on here, it is like its own ministry.”