Photo by Diane Cox
Nancy Taylor stands in front of a set of brand-new skivvies that were purchased or donated to the Community Hope Center. Individuals and families in need are encouraged to ask for help and donations are welcome.
COTTAGE HILLS — The Community Hope Center wants to get to the bottom of a dilemma that many may not realize is a problem.
In a time where warm hearts reach out to the disadvantaged and homeless by providing food, shelter, coats and blankets, one very important item is often left uncovered ... undergarments.
“We really want to get the word out that we can provide a special need,” Community Hope Center volunteer Nancy Taylor said. “We have undergarments for everyone of all shapes and all sizes. We have diabetic socks, items for the ‘big and tall,’ men, women and children. We even have specialty socks for a child that wears braces on his legs. It has surprised me that more people haven’t asked for kids’ undergarments. We want everyone to know we have items that have been donated and are brand new, in the package, ready to be used.”
The center opened its doors in April 1988 and has served the community through food donations, a free clothing store, counseling and assistance. As a nonprofit organization, donations are provided by local churches, businesses, individuals and through fundraising efforts.
The new underclothes being distributed to clients in need are arriving at the center in store packaging. Local businesses and individuals have made cash donations by writing “underwear drawer” on the check memo line.
“When people come in for help, we ask them how many adults and how many children,” Taylor said. “We want to help as many as we can. We don’t give full packages away; we will open them and hand out pairs at a time and ask that they come back if more are needed. That ensures everyone who needs help can be provided for.”
If anyone needs help, assistance or prayer, the center is open from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Donations can be accepted from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Donations can be made on Saturday by appointments. Online donations can be made through PayPal by visiting the website at www.hopecenters.com and clicking on the support tab.
“I felt that God led me to work in this area,” Taylor said. “I’ve considered the fact that if I didn’t have the basic need of underwear, how undignified I would feel if I were in that position. I want others to have that dignity. I want children to have that need taken care of so they don’t have that concern. We’ve had wonderful people support this drive. The Alton clerk is taking donations for us and people as far as Florida have sent checks to help in our cause.”
Another way to help the center is to participate in the third annual Family 5K Walk/Run Saturday, May 9, rain or shine. Proceeds will go to the Community Hope Center. Registration will take place at the Bethalto Village Hall at 7:30 a.m. with the event beginning at 8:30 a.m. Entry fees with early registration by May 1 are $20 for adults and $15 for students. The late registration is $25 for adults and $20 for students.
Taylor can be reached at (618) 210-7785; visit the Undies4U Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions concerning donations or if someone needs underwear. Checks should be made payable to the Community Hope Center with “underwear drawer” written on the memo line. Donations are tax-deductible.