50th Anniversary of the Free Store

On October 14-16, at all four services, we will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Free Store. Starting as the Clothes Closet in 1967 as a response to the needs of our Sunday school families, the Free Store has been a place for people in our neighborhood to connect over warm sweaters, warm meals and warm hearts for 50 years. So many folks have made this ministry happen and so many folks have benefited from this ministry. If you have Clothes Closet swag, buttons, t-shirts, aprons or even your favorite outfit from the Free Store, please wear it next weekend.

As part of our celebration we invite you to bring your donations, like you do every day. Unlike most days, in the offering procession you will be invited to join the ushers and bring your gifts to the front of the sanctuary and deposit them in the red bins. Rarely do we get to see the cumulative gifts you bring. This will be a time to celebrate our ministry.

Then after and in between services please join us for cake. No anniversary is complete without cake. You can take your cake out to the current location of the Free Store for a tour of the triple-wide trailer that we have been doing ministry out of since June. You will find volunteers out there who can answer questions you might have and tell the stories of our ministry.


Monday: 9:30 to 11:00 a.m.; 12:30 to 2:00 p.m.
Tuesday: 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Wednesday: 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Thursday: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.


Donations of clothing (especially men’s), towels, sheets, small household items, jackets, hats, luggage, backpacks, new socks and underwear, as well as other items are needed. We always need paper bags with handles!

Donations may be brought to any worship service in the sanctuary and/or to the triple-wide trailer located in the back of the parking lot during the above Free Store hours.

Financial contributions are also appreciated.


Central Lutheran Church opened the Clothes Closet in 1964. In February 2012 it was announced that the Free Store at St. Stephen’s Human Services would be merged into the Clothes Closet at Central. The merger creates one main location south of downtown where people in need can get free clothing and household items.


Contact Rev. Melissa Pohlman
Pastor for Community Ministries