CLOTHING SHOP manager WHO BELIEVES VOLUNTEERISM IS ALWAYS IN FASHION
For Judith McFadden, our Clothing Shop volunteer manager, helping members find new clothes is about so much more than a new dress or shirt. It’s about how those clothes can affect a person and how they feel. There is, for everyone, a sense of pride that comes with new clothes, which is often missing in many of our members’ lives.
“I love it when we put a nice jacket on a man, one that fits and is of good quality…his shoulders straighten his posture improves, says Judith. “Sometimes, women come back and show us their how they look in the new outfit. A new look works wonders in how we feel about ourselves.”
Yet, Judith’s role is so much more than helping a member find clothes. She often finds herself as a source of support for a person who is either going through an exciting and happy time, or through a difficult period.
“Perhaps they need clothes for a job interview or to wear to church. But, we also see people who have lost or gained weight because of illness or medication, and need clothing to fit their new body,” she says. “One young mother, unemployed due to a major health crisis and suddenly widowed, was able to find school outfits for her two boys. And something pretty for herself.”
In addition to Judith, other members of Samaritan Community come in to help organize the clothes and household items available at the Shop, and to help on the “sales floor”. And, that’s what makes the Shop special for Judith – and for so many others – the sense of community that resides there.
“All of us, helpers and shoppers, really feel like a community – a real community – as we hear stories and share good news,” she says. “We offer encouragement and give hugs, as needed.”
While her professional background includes public affairs, community relations, and teaching, Judith has always volunteered. “It is part of who I am,” she says.
“Whenever anybody asks, I tell them I have the best volunteer job! I make people look good and feel good about how they look,” she says. “What a blessing.”