Flint church going above and beyond to help the neighborhood

Coat drive last fall expanded into full clothing ministry with thousands of items in stock
Published: Jun. 22, 2021 at 7:15 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - A Flint church is on a mission to help those in need.

What started out as a simple coat drive has now turned into a community closet in the church’s basement. The church’s pastor who says it was all God’s plan and not his.

The basement of Grace Emmanuel Baptist Church on Lapeer Road in Flint might look like a department store at first glance. But it’s actually the Hemn of His Garments ministry.

Pastor Rabon Turner said the idea started with a coat drive last fall, which collected more than 200 coats for people in need. He thought the church could do much more if organizers can bring in 200 coats, so he went big.

“We challenged the Grace Emmanuel Church family and community -- let’s start donating our clothes and see what we can come up with,” Turner said.

As of Tuesday, 7,000 gently used items are on inventory in the pantry. They include shoes, jackets, shirts, coats and more donated from church and community members.

“We have a love for people. We have a heart for people. And we are saved to serve,” Turner said. “And our firm belief is God has blessed you. It is now an obligation for us to go out and be a blessing to other people.”

Anyone and everyone is able to come in and take what they or they’re family are in need of. One thing people will notice is the condition of many of the items.

“A lot of people don’t even have clothes to go on a job interview, so this really could be an opportunity for someone who is looking for employment to come in and get the clothes that they need,” Turner said.

The Hemn of his Garments brings in people every week -- both to make donations and those in need of clothing. The store is open on the first and third Saturdays of each month and Wednesdays from noon until 1 p.m.

“I would not be surprised if we outgrow this building and be looking to expand to another facility on its own, where we could have more time than just every other Saturday open,” he said. “We could do this every day all the time.”

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