Church Raises Funds for New Free Clothing Store

January 27, 2020

Inside the present cramped “Community of Hope” store where an abundance of items are ready for families in need to come and pick them up for free.
The old Chemical Bank drive through building is where the Living Hope Lutheran “Community of Hope” free clothing store is located.
Coordinator Marion Spencer shows some of the overflow in clothing that is being stored at Living Hope Lutheran Church.

By Pat Maurer

Clare County is known for an abundance of giving, caring people and organizations that provide for those in need.

Living Hope Lutheran Church’s “Community of Hope” free clothing store is no exception.

“We are here to help anyone in need,” said Marian Spencer.
The program had a modest beginning in 2013 in the fellowship hall of the Living Hope Lutheran Church in Farwell.

“The concept is simple,” said Chairperson Tom Pirnstill. “We take good donated clothing and distribute it to those in need, or the less fortunate, for free!”

They provide clothing for countless families and give away shoes, bedding, curtains, toys, towels, kitchen items and anything else that is donated for their cause. “Everything we have is donated by the community,” Spencer said. “Without them we wouldn’t be able to do this – that’s why we give everything away free.”

In no time at all the program grew until a larger facility was needed. In 2016 a small office building (the old Chemical Bank drive-thru) became available for just the cost of utilities, but the supply of donations soon overflowed the small building and due to the success of the program, they have once again found themselves in desperate need of a larger more appropriate facility, Pirnstill said.

The store is open on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of most months from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Pirnstill said, “Each day we are open, an average of 200 people pick up items for their families. We also support local school students with essentials and with dresses and suits for special events including the Drama Club.”

He added, “We also supply Michigan Works with “dress for success” clothing. Rugs and old blankets go to the Animal Shelter. In short, we find ways to repurpose and reuse nearly everything we receive and are making a difference in the lives of those in need.

Marian added, “Item that are not given away are placed in our annual rummage sale which is held in May. Funds from that sale help to support all of the Living Hope Lutheran programs throughout the community.”

Now, with an enormous amount of the overflow stored at the church and the small “store” across from Red’s Oakridge west of Farwell filled to overflowing, the ‘Community of Hope’ is planning to build a new larger store next to the church.

“Flyers about our fundraise are posted throughout the community,” Marian said.

“We are asking for your thoughts, prayers and monetary help so an adequate facility can be built to continue this endeavor. There is room on the church property to build a 32 by 72 foot building to house the clothing program plus our emergency food pantry. The need is great in our area and beyond. Just to paint a picture of how important the “Community of Hope” is, we have already helped several families whose houses were destroyed by fire or flood.”

The anticipated cost of the new building is $150,000. To date contributions have raised $50,000 and with those funds the foundation and flooring for the new building is now complete, Marian Spencer said. She said she and DeLynn Williams are co-coordinators in the clothing program.

“We are asking you to join us and open your heart to help, in any amount,” Pirnstill said. “Living Hope Lutheran Church is a small church with a big heart and a willingness to help anyone in need. We have always felt God has guided us on this path and will provide us with a way to continue.”

To contribute to this worthy cause donations may be mailed to Living Hope Lutheran Church, 2855 Cadillac Drive, Farwell, MI 48622. There is also a “Go-Fund-Me” page. To access the site go to

For more information call Tom at 989-387-7247 or Funds Committee Chair Jeanette Knoph at 989-890-1194.

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