The Community Closet (CC)––a ministry years in the making––was birthed out of a sincere desire to meet the tangible needs of our neighborhood. In 2023, the Lord was gracious, and after years of prayer and preparation, the CC opened. Through the donations of the Redeemer East Harlem congregation and various churches, ministries, non-profits around the city, plus the many hours of serving from our faithful volunteers, the CC continues to be stocked with clothing and household items, all of which become blessings to our neighbors with material needs. We are so grateful for all those who make the CC possible!
El Barrio is a community rich in culture and beautiful in diversity, but like all places, it is broken–marred by sin and suffering. As a result, we have witnessed both the beauty and brokenness through the community closet. In particular, as many are aware, NYC has welcomed many new asylum-seeking and migrant neighbors this year. As they arrive, many end up in East Harlem with little to nothing. Over the last few months, we have welcomed many, especially those with little children, many of whom we have been able to provide basic necessities like clothing. Especially for many families, coats, backpacks, teddy bears, and other new items produce hope as they seek to build a new life.
One story in particular that stands out is of one woman who traveled quite a distance and ended up at the Community Closet. She briefly shared her story of battery and abuse and, as a single mother, carried the weight of parenthood on her shoulders. Like many others, when she came to CC, she did not have much at all. By God’s grace, we were able to supply what she needed. We also think about the many who come without proper clothing for the cold season but are able to find what they need that they might leave properly clothed and warm.
Again, the work of the Community Closet is only possible because of the donations and faithful giving of many who make it possible! We trust the Lord will continue to provide all we need through the ongoing faithfulness of those who desire to help meet the needs of our neighbors.
If you are interested in learning more about the Community Closet and ways to support the outreach efforts of Redeemer East Harlem, go to www.reh.nyc/cc.
-Davey Fernandez, Community Life Manager