Wykoff clothing drive sees record turnout

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(ABC 6 News) – Saturday morning, people from Chatfield, to Stewartville, to Spring Valley had the chance to shop from mountains of clothing and household items.

Everything was donated through the Wykoff United Methodist Church. What was once a small, free giveaway, is now almost too much to handle and spans over two days.

An idea that began in a church basement has exploded into a massive clothing exchange with hundreds of donations and shoppers from all around southeastern Minn.

“It’s two days at the end of Oct. but it feels so much bigger,” said Gretchen Mensink, a member of Wykoff United Methodist Church.

Mensinki says the idea to recycle clothing and household goods back into the community started ten years ago.

With time, the exchange became so big, it outgrew its space at the church and was moved into a cafeteria inside a former school building, the Wykoff Commons.

However, with the biggest turnout yet, it may need an even bigger space for next year.

“Bigger than what I have seen it, and the most shoes we’ve ever seen in our lives,” said Dianne Bicknese, who has been a member of the Wykoff United Methodist Church for over 50 years. “So we’re just real happy the kind of the day it is and how many people are coming to get clothes.”

Everything at the clothing drive is donated by people in and around the community, and for many, it makes a huge difference.

“In these days where everything is so expensive, and really a lot of older people can’t walk so far, so we try to make it easy for them to bring their things and to get things,” said Bicknese. “Also there’s a lot of families that have a bunch of kids.”

While Mensink loves giving back to the community, she says there is one other reason why the drive is so important.

“It takes 750 gallons of water to make one new T-shirt, so environmentally, I hope this makes a difference too,” said Mensink. “There are so many clothes going to waste and we might as well send them home with people who will wear them, use them, love them to death.”

All of the items that are leftover at the end of the drive are all donated to places like the Salvation Army.

“We want things to go away just as quickly as they came in the door,” Mensink added.

There is still a lot of clothing left over, and the drive has a second day next Saturday, Oct. 29, from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. While it was initially supposed to start at 10 a.m. they are opening an hour earlier to allow for more time for people to shop.

If you are interested in donated, Wykoff United Methodist Church says it is preferred to drop things off during the week so the volunteers have time to sort before the drive.

For more information, click here.