The Helping Hands Closet provides clothing and personal hygiene items to individuals in need free of charge.

The Helping Hands Closet provides clothing and personal hygiene items to individuals in need free of charge.

It was begun, according to Stacey MacDonald, vocational coordinator, because they had an extra room at the Lake Region Corporation building. “We put our heads together and brainstormed about how we could use that space to help people from the community,” she said.

Originally the Dakota Prairie Community Action Agency had a closet where they helped provide clothing for those who were trying to return to the workforce but didn’t have the clothing they would need for job interviews or that would be suitable for wearing to work. They relocated that closet to LRC. Now the DPCAA maintains a closet of only outerwear items; coats (for all seasons), hats, gloves, snow pants, boots for people of all ages and so on.

In 2016 the staff of the Lake Region Corporation started their closet in that empty room in their building receiving donated clothing from throughout the community. Their desire, at the time, was to provide clothing for those in need and to provide an opportunity for job skills training for the individuals receiving services from Lake Region Corporation. The LRC motto is “Providing support for people in achieving success in their life and their community.” By late 2017 that room at LRC was filled to overflowing and something had to be done.

After working out the details, the closet was relocated to the Lake Region Shelter located in the former Eagles Clubrooms on the 300 block of Third Street in downtown Devils Lake. They had the room to house and expand the closet at the shelter. Plus, they also often had guests that were in need of clothing who could benefit.

It was a “win-win” situation.

How does it work? The closet works on a referral basis from local agencies or organizations that include the Devils Lake Police Department, local churches and social service organizations. The closet is staffed by individuals receiving services from Lake Region Corporation providing valuable paid employment and job skills training while at the same time giving back to the community.

How can you help? Donations of gently used clothing of all sizes - children to adults - and hygiene products, as well as monetary donations are welcome. To give to the Helping Hands Closet, drop off donations at the LRC - 224 3rd St. NW - behind the Devils Lake Chrysler Center. It is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays except holidays. Please make sure the clothing is clean and in good repair. They especially need men’s clothing since many of the individuals who seek help at the Community Shelter are males. However, all donations are welcome. The Helping Hands Closet is a non-profit, tax exempt organization, so your financial donation is IRS tax deductible. To donate a coat or outerwear to the DPCAA please make sure those items are cleaned and bring them to the DPCAA, 223 4th Street NE in Devils Lake.