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Mansfield Magazine

Arlington's Clothing Swap is All About Moms Helping Moms & Families

Dec 13, 2017 06:05PM ● Published by Melanie Heisinger

Clothing Swap is a not-for-profit program in Arlington that is all about helping those in need by swapping clothes.

Rene Lewis is the director of the program and was inspired to start something as a result of her own experiences with her children, who had quickly grown out of their clothes. One day, a lady from the same church as her brought in clothing that had outgrown her daughters. As a result, Lewis went home with a bag full of new clothes for her girls, and that's where the inspiration struck.

Here's how it works: Attendees gather gently used clothing their children have outgrown, or simply don’t wear, and bring them to the swap. When they arrive, they sign in and a volunteer counts their items. Each article of clothing counts as 1 item: Shoes and jackets count as 2. 3 bibs or pairs of socks count as 1. Then, they can choose that many items from the stock available. When they have selected their desired items, they check out at the front, which just means they get a flyer for the next event.  

The next swap is Saturday April 7th at Lynn Hale Elementary, 2400 E. Mayfield Rd, Arlington. 

We got in touch with Clothing Swap's director Rene Lewis to learn more about this inspiring local swap. 


Tell us a little bit about Clothing Swap. When and how did it get started?

When my kids were very small, both of my girls out grew their clothes within 2 weeks of each other. As kids do, they shot up and out and only the stretchy clothes fit.

We began to plan out $40 here and $20 there to get them where they needed to be when a lady at church, seemingly randomly, had brought clothes her girls had out grown to share. All at once, we had a trash bag of clothes for each child that fit perfectly. It was amazing.

The stress and burden lifted were surprising. And I can remember feeling like God saw me. He saw me in my need and loved on me in a personal way. We all want to be good parents and providers for our kids. We want to give them all they need and pour into their hearts love and encouragement. It is hard to do that when we are trying to figure out if we skip laundry for a few days if the kids will still have clothes to wear.

Inspired, I started collecting clothes. I asked for donations and went to garage sales late in the day and picked up any leftovers. Wherever I saw a need I did my best to meet it. The kids clothes worked beautifully. I answered ads of moms in need, made a bag for them, and they picked it up. Kids will wear anything so it was a win for everyone. 

In 2011 we moved from Burleson to Arlington and I was ready to adjust to a larger scale. I spoke with my church and they agreed to let my sister, Kimberly, and I hold the swaps at the church. We set the clothes out and put flyers around the neighborhood. Six families came the first time. Soon after, we started advertising on Facebook and Craigslist, and our largest event had 220 families come through swapping clothes! It's been amazing! We have a new home at Lynn Hale Elementary and are looking forward to growing there!

What is Clothing Swap's mission?

I can remember so distinctly the weight of trying to provide clothes for my girls, and knowing they needed it now, and knowing I couldn't do that on my own. 

When clothes were provided, I not only felt like a better mom and provider for them but I knew God saw me and was loving me where I was. Not a future version of me, but me in my need. 

It's our mission to help families make it and relieve some of the stress of raising kids; to create community where families come together to help each other.


What's been one of the most memorable moments (so far)?

A family came in who had just arrived in the country and had nothing. Everyone left with clothes and shoes and as they were leaving, thanking us again, their daughter, a beautiful little girl, was carrying her pile. I offered her a bag to put it in but she didn't want to let go of her treasured clothes long enough for me to bag it for her. I will always remember her face.

 

How can someone help Clothing Swap?

We are a fully volunteer-run program, so the day of the swap I need all the help I can get!

We are also always in need of Rubbermaid tubs, as well as pizza and drinks for the volunteers, so any monetary donations go towards that.

Is there anything else we should know?

Our Facebook is the primary contact point for all events and questions https://www.facebook.com/Clothing-swap-993505330701653/.

Our website is theclothingswap.com.

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