Dream Closet hosts free shopping event

Dream Closet hosts free shopping event

McKenna Scherer, Editor-in-Chief

On Nov. 18 from 12-3 p.m. at the Tau Center on Winona State University’s West Campus, Dream Closet will be hosting its sixth event at Winona State.

Dream Closet is an organization that strives to help community members by providing donated, gently used clothing to all in need.

The organization got its start-up back in 2013 at Mankato State University and was brought to Winona State University in spring 2016, having since been a part of the college and Winona’s community.

As stated on the Dream Closet Facebook page, items will include clothing for men, women, teens/juniors, youth and babies. The organization has around 35 volunteers for the event and is funded every year by the Student Senate of Winona State to make it a free event for the community.

Chloe Healy, team leader for the Dream Closet Organization, as well as president of the Society for Human Resource Management, commented on how the event is able to occur at no expense to shoppers.

“Student Senate graciously gives us money each semester to buy food for the shoppers like granola bars, tangerines, fruit snacks, water bottles and juice boxes,” Healy said.

“For the clothing part, we gather donations from the community and from students and faculty on-campus.”

The clothing items at the event are all donations from the community. Up until Friday, Nov. 16, donations will be accepted by dropping off items in donation boxes. These boxes are in accessible areas around Winona including on Winona State’s campus in most academic buildings and in local grocery stores like HyVee, Midtown Foods and Bluff Country Co-op.

“We have clothing for everyone,” Healy said. “No one leaves without finding something perfect for them. We have around 250 shoppers at the event, with the number growing each semester as the event becomes more well-known throughout the community.”

Due to the growing awareness of the event, volunteers who work for Dream Closet spend as long as five hours setting up the event a day before it occurs and stay as long as needed afterwards for clean-up, all for the community to have maximum ease and enjoyment at the event.

Although Nov. 18’s event has enough volunteers, there is more than one occurrence of the event per year – once per semester – and will hopefully continue for many years to come.

Abigail Ross, co-head of the Dream Closet social media, commented on the volunteer effort of the organization.

“One of the best things about this organization is the amount of work we see from our volunteers and how much people coming to these events appreciate it,” Ross said.

Volunteers do tons of work before, during and after each event, including asking local companies for donations, promoting the event around the community and greeting shoppers with bags to put items in at each event if they don’t come with one.

“The actual events are what really touch our volunteers and make them want to come back,” Ross said. “Seeing people come back to the events year after year, getting to continue those connections and see where they are now [is what’s so great about volunteering].”

Dream Closet does not just toss remaining items out either, any items left over get re-donated to the community and go to the Grace Place and Volunteer Services in Winona.

With the number of shoppers growing every year, it is recommended that people show up early to start shopping right at 12 p.m.

“The baby and youth clothing are very popular. Therefore, it goes fast,” Healy said.