NEWARK — Outfitting a youngster can be an expensive task for any parent, given how quickly youngsters outgrow their clothing.
But for people without a lot of money, it’s even more daunting.
A new organization in Newark called Common Threads hopes to meet that challenge.
Organizer Bethany Comella, who works at the Park Presbyterian Church, said people come into the building all the time seeking help with anything from paying their utilities to gas for their car.
“For most things in town, I know where to send people,” said Comella.
Except when it comes to clothing for kids.
“This hasn’t really been met in the immediate Newark community,” said Comella, who founded the group with fellow Park Presbyterian Church employee Sarah Humphrey.
It has now.
Common Threads is now open in the basement of Woodlane Community Church, 5694 Wood Lane, where they distribute children’s clothing at no charge.
It is open from 9 a.m. to noon each Saturday.
They offer clothing for kids from sizes newborn through to 14/16 — and both genders as well.
“We don’t check income, we don’t check residency,” Comella stressed. “It’s open to everybody.”
If people can afford to provide a donation, they can, she added.
She and Humphrey talked about such a service for years, but the effort didn’t really take off until 2017, when they held clothing drives as part of an effort to distribute free children’s clothing to the Newark community.
They solicited on the organization’s Facebook page, and the community responded in a big way, she said.
“People definitely took us up on that,” she said.
With ample donations in hand, they created a pop-up boutique at the church, giving out 100 bags of clothes and 30 coats.
And they also got even more donations.
Common Threads is working under the auspices of the not-for-profit organization Together In Christ program, a Newark ecumenical group representing many churches in the community.
Host Woodlane Community Church welcomed the group with open arms, said Comella.
“Everyone at Woodlane has been absolutely supportive,” she said.
The church basement location for Common Threads was one Comella wasn’t sure they could fill.
She was wrong.
Over the course of a few weeks since they were given the spot, it has filled, she said.
Common Threads had a soft opening over the past couple of Saturdays, and the response has been enthusiastic.
“Slowly, the word is getting out,” said Comella.
A lot more may know people may know about Common Threads this weekend, when a fundraiser featuring a wide variety of vendors, along with the Ribilicious food truck, takes place at the Newark Garden Hotel, 125 N. Main St., from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
It’s being organized by Heidi Meckley, an independent distributor for the skin care company SeneGence International.
She also happens to be an event host extraordinaire, said Comella, who explained that she’s letting Meckley handle all the fundraiser details.
Meckley said she’s happy to help, noting she did a similar successful fundraiser for the Newark Food Pantry, which she hopes to repeat in the future.
The needs in the Newark community are great, she said, for both food and clothing.
“The kids need help in the area,” said Meckley. “There’s so many kids you see who are wearing clothing with holes and not proper jackets (for the season).”
Meckley hopes to raise $1,000 for Common Threads in Saturday’s fundraiser and the goal is close to 30 vendors.
The sale will be a great chance for shoppers to find Mother’s Day gifts, said Meckley.
For her, it’s a chance to give back to a community she has come to love.
“I know what it is like to not have enough and go without,” she said. “I always promised myself that once I was blessed with a good life I would be sure to help others anyway I can. I don’t get to do all I would like, but I do what I can.”
Comella marveled at Meckley’s energy.
“She is just go, go, go,” she said.
The money raised at the fundraiser will help Common Threads buy things such as underwear and socks, two things the kids clothing closet is not accepting for donations.
If you have clothes you’d like to donate, you can do so on Saturdays at the church location or at the fundraiser.