Mother urges others to support clothing bank’s expansion

Mother urges others to support clothing bank’s expansion
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God’s Closet-Elk is a place people go when they need help.

Tina Bernal started shopping there when she was 15-years-old.

“I just started coming in as a teenager looking for clothes,” Bernal said.

Karen Erickson remembers the day Bernal came in all those years ago. She’s met a lot of people, like Bernal, since founding God’s Closet nearly 15 years ago.

What started as a little donation closet at a local church soon grew into a basement full of donations, located at the Grange building.

“I didn’t plan it. God did,” Erickson said.

It quickly became the place to go for clothes and anything else you might need. People come from all over north Spokane County. That area is one of the poorest in the area. Ricki Belden said it’s nice to have somewhere to go.

“Not everyone can afford to buy something brand new. But, it sure makes you feel good when you look good and this provides that,” Belden said.

Hundreds of people rely on God’s Closet, but Erickson said they could be helping even more.

The clothing bank is only open a few hours on Monday and some can’t even get to it because of the stairs leading down to the Grange’s basement.

The air quality is another issue for Erickson and other volunteers.

Doctors told Erickson she needs to stop spending so much time in the basement because breathing in all the dust and fibers caused breathing issues.

“It broke my heart because I love this so much,” Erickson said.

That’s why she is so determined to raise money to build a new building for God’s Closet-Elk. The church where it first started offered to lease them land at a low cost. Now, they need to come up with the money to build. Erickson said they need at least $200,000.

Erickson understands it’s a lot of money, but she also knows what’s at stake.

Bernal knows that, too.

“About four years ago, I struggled with addiction, very, very badly, which took me away from my kids,” Bernal said.

Bernal found herself back in Elk. She was in her early 30s and needed help.

“I was really lost and depressed,” Bernal said.

That changed when she returned to God’s Closet.

“It was open arms. Come here. Let me love you,” Bernal said.

Bernal left God’s Closet with new clothes and new plans for her life. Now, she’s four years clean and working to get her kids back.

Bernal is still shopping at God’s Closet, too.

If you’d like to donate time, money, or other items to God’s Closet, learn more here.

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