Large piles of clothing covered the dozens of tables filling a large room in the Iowa Central Community College career education building on Saturday morning as about 1,000 people screened them in search of the items they needed.
The corner of the room where the toys were kept was largely emptied within an hour of opening the doors.
And by the time the doors closed at 12:30 p.m., the rest of the room looked a lot like the toy area earlier in the morning.
The college’s annual Share What You Wear event, held on Saturday, gave locals the opportunity to get free clothes, shoes, toys and household items. All items have been donated.
Volunteer gift-wrapped items intended to be Christmas gifts. And all participants could receive a new gift.
Dental hygiene students at the college distributed free toothbrushes and toothpaste.
“This event embodies the whole spirit of Christmas”, said Kris Nerem-Lowery, director of the college’s TRIO and event organizer. âIt’s about giving, sharing, helping and making sure everyone has the chance to enjoy the holiday season. “
Jenny Shivers, director of the college board and lead organizer of Share What You Wear, said hundreds of people were lining up outside the building when the doors opened at 9 a.m.
She said some of those people had apparently been waiting for an hour to an hour and a half.
Shivers estimated that 900 to 1,100 people attended the event.
Janet Earls, who has volunteered at Share What You Wear for 17 years, said people told her: âWithout you, we wouldn’t have Christmas.
She remembers that one year a man handed out thank you cards to volunteers.
Earls said the amount of happiness Share What You Wear can bring to people is “just amazing.”
Earls usually helps oversee the housewares section, and one of his favorite keepsakes is helping a child find figurines that were packed that day and given to the child’s grandmothers for Christmas.
She sees a real need for Share What You Wear.
“There are a lot of people who need help” she said. âSomething like this is almost a necessity. “
“If we have helped even one person, it is worth it” she added.
As the tables appeared to be covered with thousands of pieces of clothing, organizers of Share What You Wear said the vast majority would be taken. Earls said that usually what was left at the end of the event could fit in a single van.
Nerem-Lowery said members of the Iowa Central Student Senate began collecting donated items in November.
Volunteers, including members of the Iowa Central sports teams and CJ Bio America employees, set up the tables and placed the items on them last Thursday and Friday.
The Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society provided lunch for the volunteers on Friday.
“We have so many people ready to give of their time and talent” said Nerem-Lowery.
âWe couldn’t do this if we didn’t have all of our great people at Iowa Central Community College,â she added.