Christ Child Clothing Center opens in new location for 2020

Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 5:28 PM EDT
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MISHAWAKA, Ind. (WNDU) - Children and their families are in need more than ever as we continue to navigate the coronavirus pandemic.

16 News Now went to the grand opening for the Christ Child Clothing Center's new Mishawaka location and tells us how they're filling the need for children's clothes.

Some students are starting school Wednesday, and even though many will begin online, the Christ Child Clothing Center is making sure they have some new clothes to start the school year.

They hope to tackle the growing need for resources caused by the ongoing pandemic with their newer larger space.

"This year we have close to 19-20 thousand sq. ft., and so our hope is with the large facility and moving to this Mishawaka location that we are going to meet the needs of a lot more families," said Christ Child Society Co-President Suzanne Wiwi.

Even though the Society is in its 73rd year of providing clothing for children in need, this year's operation will be much different than the previous 72.

"The pandemic has added a whole other piece to this. We have many, many families without jobs. So that need for clothing for their children, whether remote, or in school, or not, children need clothing," Wiwi said.

Eligible families get a brand new winter outfit for their children younger than 12.

That includes a new winter coat, hat, gloves, jeans, T-shirt, sweatshirt, underwear, socks, and sneakers.

There are more than 30 different locations around the South Bend and Mishawaka area that can refer families to the Christ Child Society.

"It's really not hard to get the referral there, and again, with so many people not working, it's really helpful," Wiwi said.

Families can also get a referral from any South Bend, Mishawaka, Penn-Harris-Madison, and Catholic elementary or middle school.

Things are operating a little differently than they did in previous years to do COVID precautions.

Only five clients are allowed in the registration area at a time, with everyone else asked to wait in their cars while waiting for their clothes.

They have face masks and hand sanitizer available for those entering the building.

They've limited the amount of contact clients have with volunteers to keep everyone safer.

"We get the sizes. Then they go back outside and then all of that gets typed up. Then you'll see we have people walking around with wagons. Big cloth wagons and they fill that wagon with things for that person. Then that person does get a text from us that says 'your items are ready and to come around the back," Wiwi said.

The center is open every Wednesday until Christmas from 7:30 A.M.-11:30 A.M.

They also open on select Thursday and Sunday afternoons.

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