'Something like this is a necessity' | News, Sports, Jobs – Fort Dodge Messenger

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Dec 6, 2021
-Messenger photo by Bill Shea
Tables like this one were covered with clothing and other items during Share What You Wear at Iowa Central Community College Saturday morning. Organizers estimated that 900 to 1,100 people came to the event to pick out free clothes, shoes and other items.
Big heaps of clothing covered the dozens of tables filling one large room in the Career Education Building at Iowa Central Community College Saturday morning as about 1,000 people picked through them, seeking the items they needed.
The corner of the room where the toys were positioned was largely emptied within an hour of the doors opening.
And by the time the doors closed at 12:30 p.m., the rest of the room looked a lot like the toy area did earlier in the morning.
The college’s annual Share What You Wear event held Saturday gave people from the area an opportunity to get clothing, shoes, toys and household items for free. All of the items were donated.
Volunteers gift wrapped items destined to be Christmas presents. And everyone who attended could get one new gift.
-Messenger photo by Bill Shea
Janet Earls folds a linen Saturday morning during Share What You Wear at Iowa Central Community College. She has volunteered at the event for 17 years, and usually works in the housewares section.
The college’s dental hygiene students handed out free toothbrushes and toothpaste.
“This event embodies the entire spirit of Christmas,” said Kris Nerem-Lowery, the college’s TRIO director and an organizer of the event. “It’s about giving, sharing, helping and making sure everyone has a chance to enjoy the holiday season.”
Jenny Shivers, the college’s director of advising and a lead organizer of Share What You Wear, said hundreds of people were lined 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 came to the event.
-Messenger photo by Bill Shea
Jackie Brown ties a ribbon around a package while wrapping gifts during Share What You Wear at Iowa Central Community College on Saturday. Volunteers provided free gift wrapping service.
Janet Earls, who has volunteered at Share What You Wear for 17 years, said she has had people tell her, “If it wasn’t for you, we wouldn’t have a Christmas.”
She recalled that one year, a man handed out thank-you cards to the 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 her favorite memories is of helping a child find some figurines that were wrapped that day and given to the child’s grandmothers for Christmas.
She sees a genuine need for Share What You Wear.
-Messenger photo by Bill Shea
Nancy Irving wraps a gift Saturday morning during Share What You Wear at Iowa Central Community College. Volunteers wrapped items destined to become Christmas presents for free during the event.
“There’s a lot of people that need help,” she said. “Something like this is a necessity almost.”
“If we’ve helped even one person, it’s worth it,” she added.
While the tables appeared to be covered with literally thousands of pieces of clothing, Share What You Wear organizers said the vast majority of it would be taken. Earls said usually what’s left at the end of the event could fit in a single van.
Nerem-Lowery said members of the Iowa Central Student Senate begin collecting donated items in November.
Volunteers, including members of Iowa Central sports teams and employees of CJ Bio America, set up the tables and placed the items on them last Thursday and Friday.
-Messenger photo by Bill Shea
People look through piles of clothes during Share What You Wear Saturday morning at Iowa Central Community College. At least 100 people were lined up outside the Career Education Building before the doors opened at 9 a.m.
The Phi Theta Kappa honor society provided lunch for the volunteers on Friday.
“We just have so many people willing to give back their time and talent,” Nerem-Lowery said.
“We couldn’t do this if we didn’t have all our amazing people at Iowa Central Community College,” she added.
-Messenger photo by Bill Shea
Shellee Martinez, right, an Iowa Central Community College dental hygiene student dressed as the Tooth Fairy, gives a boy a toothbrush during the Share What You Wear event Saturday morning in the college’s Career Education Building. Dental hygiene students handed out toothbrushes and tooth paste.
-Messenger photo by Bill Shea
People sort through piles of clothing Saturday morning at the Share What You Wear event in the Career Education Building at Iowa Central Community College. Organizers said 900 to 1,100 people were there to get free clothing, shoes and other items.
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