One of the things we were able to offer at our outreach program before COVID forced us into lockdown was pre-loved clothing. We would set it up on tables once a month for our members to look through and take what they needed.
We had a lady join our program who was under federal protection after fleeing domestic violence. You could tell she’d been through a lot as she was shy and timid but somehow had a kind of strength about her.
I soon noticed that she wore the same jumper every time she came. When our “market day” came around and we had our clothing laid out, I took her by the hand and told her to take what she needed. She protested as she didn’t have any money, but when I assured her it was free, she smiled and started to look through the piles.
We found quite a few things in her size and I urged her to take them to the bathroom to try them on. She took most of them and left that day very grateful and feeling a little better about herself.
She arrived the following week with a plate of baked goodies from her home country. I told her how much we appreciated her taking the time to make them as she handed me the plate. She took me by the shoulder, kissed me on both cheeks, and looked me in the eye as she said thank you.
She had been treated with such cruelty and disrespect and this small gesture had a profound impact on her. We hugged one another warmly.
From that day on, I put aside anything I thought she would like as we sorted the new donations. By the time she was moved to a new safe house, she had a whole new wardrobe. – Lis