There’s a new clothing “store” in town. But the clientele is limited to veterans. And they don’t have to pay a cent for any of the merchandise.
The Veterans Clothing Closet, a collaboration between Catholic Charities and Kearny’s American Legion Post 99, is now operating out of the Post’s headquarters at 314 Belgrove Drive.
Veterans, men and women, are welcome to visit — by appointment – and select whatever garments they desire. A prime focus is on business attire, to better ready a job applicant for that all-important hiring interview, but casual clothing is also available.
As noted on the township’s website, www.kearnyusa.com, “The Veterans Clothing Closet is dedicated to helping veterans build better lives for themselves and their families and promoting independence among veterans by providing professional attire. The location will also offer a network of support tools to help veterans thrive in work and in life, with the purpose of empowering and inspiring veterans in the community.”
All the clothing has been donated through Catholic Charities, which opened its inaugural Veterans Clothing Closet in Paterson eight months ago. The plan is eventually to open at least one in every county in New Jersey.
The Kearny Closet is only the second in the state, and the first in Hudson County, a point of pride for Post 99.
JoAnn Northgrave, veterans coordinator for Hudson County, told The Observer, “The Post is so anxious to help veterans, and it had the space, so it was the perfect fit.”
That help for vets is also evident in Post 99’s Kearny VOICE (Veterans Outreach, Information, Community, Education) project, a resource-referral service for vets, active and reserve military personnel and their family members who live in Kearny. Information on pensions, benefits, counseling, educational opportunities and training, housing, etc., is provided. (For information on VOICE, call 201-991-6919.)
Although much of the clothing in the Closet is “pre-worn,” everything we saw during a recent visit appeared to be in pristine condition, including suits, jackets, shirts, slacks, skirts, blouses, etc. (We had our eyes on a gorgeous purple sweater, but we are not a veteran, drat.)
All clothing donations are made via appointment. Veterans must also make an appointment through Catholic Charities, not the Post, in order to visit the Closet, since it is staffed by volunteers. (Don’t worry. They’ll find time for you.)
Personal hygiene products and small household items also can be donated.
To make donations, or schedule a visit, contact Carl Perry at 973-592-1393 or email email@example.com.
Northgrave noted that a county-wide clothing drive is planned for September, “but we hope the items come in clean, since we don’t have the facilities to do that.” Details on the drive will be provided in the near future, she said.
As a flyer from Catholic Charities notes: “Whether you are looking for a single pair of jeans or a full suit for a job interview, the Veterans Clothing Closet has you covered.”