St. Edward Kindness Closet named 2023 Salt and Light Award winner as Outstanding Human Services Organization
HERMINIE – Mar. 7 – Being mothers and grandmothers, the volunteers at the Kindness Closet at St. Edward Parish, Herminie, know how quickly children grow out of their clothes, and the cost of replacements. They had bags and bags of clothing to give away..
Two mothers, Kate McKinley and Natalie Jurcevich, wanted to find a way to get the clothes their children outgrew to families who needed them.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, they decided to become more involved in their parish, St. Edward Parish in Herminie. Both women work full time, so they needed something that would fit their schedules. They also wanted something that would involve their children. They gathered with a small group of parishioners, and out of those meetings, the Kindness Closet was born.
“We found that people are always looking for help with everything including diapers, clothing, shoes and bedding,” McKinley said.
Clothes are collected in a donation box at the parish. McKinley, Jurcevich and their volunteers sort the clothing according to size and category (men’s, women’s, children and infants). Because of the generosity of those in the community, the Kindness Closet grew, necessitating a move from the former St. Edward School to the former convent across the parking lot.
Lorry Kavel, who organizes volunteers to staff the Kindness Closet, said once McKinley and Jurcevich had the idea for the Kindness Closet, she jumped in to help.
“I love helping people,” Kavel said. “I am happiest when I am doing something for someone else. I think that is why God put us on this earth.”
While monetary donations are accepted, there is never a charge for items at the Kindness Closet.
Kavel said the people who come into the Kindness Closet are grateful for the help.
“One customer said she ‘has five kids and you don’t know what this means to me’. My heart just melts,” Kavel said.
The Kindness Closet is open Sundays from 10- 11 a.m. and Mondays and Wednesdays starting at 10 a.m. Pop-up hours on other days are advertised in advance on Facebook. In 2022, the Kindness Closet distributed nearly 15,000 items to those in need.
Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Greensburg has awarded The Kindness Closet with its 2023 Communities of Salt and Light Award for Outstanding Humanitarian Organization. Volunteers will be honored on April 20, 2023, at the 23rd Annual Communities of Salt and Light Awards Dinner.
To purchase tickets to the awards dinner or to make a donation, click here.