Community members in need are encouraged to come to The Barn this weekend, when clothes and other accessories will be distributed as part of Columbia Association’s 5th annual clothing drive.
The Barn is located at 5853 Robert Oliver Place in the Oakland Mills Village Center. Distribution dates and times are on Saturday, Jan. 18, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and on Sunday, Jan. 19, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. There’s no limit on items. Anyone who’s in need is welcome.
More than 150 large trash bags full of various items were donated in October and November, collected from all 10 village community association buildings, the Columbia Art Center, the Youth and Teen Center @ The Barn, the Eggspectation restaurant in Ellicott City, and from a Boy Scout troop affiliated with Bridgeway Community Church.
The clothing drive is organized by CA’s Youth and Teen Center and its Teen Outreach Committee. The previous year’s drive helped about 500 people.
“Our teen outreach committee realized that there was a need in the community for clothes and the basic items. Some of them had their own personal struggles, and we could identify that there’s clearly a need in the community,” said Youth and Teen Program Coordinator Safire Windley. “The epiphany was when we saw a young man — a little boy with his mom — and they didn’t have coats, and it was so cold. We were trying to figure out a way to impact the community in a positive way.
“The struggle is really real, and it’s something that everyone can relate to. We see the need, and we are here. It’s so important the people can come in [on the distribution days] and ‘shop’ with integrity, with their heads up, and feel the love.”
Brittany Dacier, a freshman at Oakland Mills High School, is one of the Teen Outreach Committee members who has been involved.
“I just hope they know that there are always people, young or old, who are willing to help them through their struggles,” Dacier said. “Even though we’re strangers to them, we do care about them and will always give back to the community.”