Pat's Closet and the Heart of Christ

Trinity's clothing bank, Pat's Closet, offers clothing and household items to anyone in our community. Our inventory is donated by groups and individuals throughout the Tacoma area, and made freely available for anyone to come and take what they need. Pat's Closet is open Thursdays from 5-7 PM, and Fridays from 1-3 PM. Mark Hillis regularly volunteers at Pat's Closet, and offers a reflection on his experience.

Mark Hillis, a regular Pat's Closet volunteer.

Mark Hillis, a regular Pat's Closet volunteer.

Pat’s Clothing Closet is an example of a ministry that, like all good outreach programs, serves multiple purposes consistent with the heart of Christ: meeting needs, being present, and staying put for the long term.  What’s illuminating here is how the heart of Christ works too, which is to say inclusively.

The Clothing Closet is a place, located in the basement of Trinity Presbyterian Church, that provides clothes and food to those with modest means.  More than that, it provides a retreat for someone to get out of the cold. A place to talk. A place to relax in a peaceful atmosphere. What is experienced reveals itself by means of thankfulness and humility, charity and welcome… and it’s really good.

But there is something else at play, which I hadn’t planned on experiencing as a volunteer: humility.  This emerged through watching and serving others who consistently expressed a deep sense of gratitude. This is what it looks like:

  • A woman asking if it would be alright to grab an extra pair of socks

  • Listening to a teenager express gratefulness as they receive a hot meal

  • Watching Iris engage in a lengthy conversation with a someone who just needed to talk and be heard

  • Always hearing a ‘thank you and God bless’ when leaving Pat's Closet

I came to Pat’s Closet thinking I was going to ‘do a good thing.’  Fortunately, it has turned into ‘having a good thing done to me.’ And that, in the best sense of the word, is humbling.

Iris and Barry Jackson, serving coffee to Pat's Closet guests.

Iris and Barry Jackson, serving coffee to Pat's Closet guests.

Those who frequent Pat’s Closet are gracious people.  They don’t have a lot, but they still somehow find it in themselves to be thankful for everything they get.  The heart of Christ is a funny thing. Right when you think you’ve figured out the dimensions of it, it seems to expand and include much more than you ever thought possible.