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Time to Fill the Truck for Disaster Survivors Again Lenten Disaster Clothing Drive. March 1st, Ash Wednesday - Week of April 3rd

Remember last year, when Johnson City finished filling the collection truck for the annual disaster used clothing drive? 

When the truck left JC, it was jam-full to the doors with used clothing. Problem was, it hadn’t finished making all its stops — there were more to go — so a second truck had to be re-routed to finish the run.

Let’s do it again!

It's the annual interfaith clothing drive that stocks the warehouse ahead of the spring flood and tornado season, so when a disaster requires quick delivery of used clothes, it’s ready to go.

In Johnson City, the First United Methodist Church heads the drive, but all churches (clubs, businesses, and individuals) are welcome to participate, and obviously lots do so. The campaign officially starts on March 1st, Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Churches will collect clothes until the week of April 3rd, when the truck begins picking up the collections.

The truck is from the Seventh-day Adventists, who make the rounds of participating churches across Central Texas, then take it all to the Adventists’ warehouse in Alvarado, south of Ft Worth, where the clothing is sorted, sanitized, packaged and stored to await a call from a disaster manager who needs it. 

When that call comes, the Adventists load their truck and the next morning it’s at the disaster shelter, waiting for survivors to come put on fresh clothes.

“But that plan only works if we have done our part first,” explained Pastor Lee Romero of the First United Methodist Church in Johnson City. 

“It starts with you cleaning out your closets of clothes you’ll never wear again, and bringing them to your church, or to ours. We’ll store it until the truck comes, then send it on its way.”

Last year, more than two dozen churches and countless individuals donated to the campaign, from Lampasas down to Carrizo Springs. There’s always room for more.

“Last year, the semi was so full after it stopped here, we literally had to jump out and slam the door,” Romero recalled. "Luckily, the Adventists already had a second truck making part of the route, so it finished the part the semi couldn’t hold. We’d sure like to fill that second truck, too.”

The campaign needs work clothes the survivors can wear to clean up their homes. That includes, shoes, hats, and belts. They do not accept used underwear, swimsuits, or socks. They don’t have to be on hangers, or even clean…that’ll be taken care of in the processing. Boxes and bags of clothes all are OK.

“We know we’re still a month away from the official start date,” Romero said, “but now’s the time to be rooting through the closets and setting aside what you don’t want. And, yes, we’ll take donations early.

“Sometime later this year, somewhere, somebody you’ll never know will bless you for it.”