Church organizes 'linen ministry' for needy

Dec 21 2013 - 1:12am

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OGDEN -- One day about six months ago, a member of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd had the idea that probably a lot of people who are struggling and down on their luck could use towels and bed linens -- so the members in the church's Outreach program went to work to help.

Nancy Groshart oversees the Outreach program and said the need in the community is large. Church members are reaching out to other churches in the community to get donations as well. Right now they are storing the linens that have already been donated at someone's home, but they would like to receive enough that they can move to the church if necessary, or even find another location to store the items. "That is what we are hoping," Groshart said.

The Rev. Vanessa Cato said they spoke with Your Community Connection and Catholic Community Services and found that linens are a huge need in the Ogden Community. "When people get into homes after being homeless, buying linens are not always at the top of the priority list," Cato said. Things like food and transportation seem to top the list.

Members in the Outreach program contacted a church in New York City that has a successful linen ministry to find how they run theirs. The Ogden group is trying to adopt some of those practices.

They have started collecting pillowcases, bed linens and towels from members of their congregation, but because the need is so great, they're asking for help from outside the congregation to be able to provide for the community.

The plan is to have a specific day of the month that YCC and Catholic Community Services can send those needing the items to the church.

"It won't be a free-for-all. They will need to have a recommendation," Cato said.

Donations of sheets, pillowcases and towels need to be new or gently used. Donations of quilts, blankets or pillows must be new.

"We don't want to be passing on bedbugs," Cato said, laughing.

It has taken a while to put everything together, because organizers want the effort to be effective, to help many in the community. Church members have started washing and wrapping linens, by bed size, from the items they have received, and they look forward to getting many more donations.

Cato said they will start putting things together after the beginning of the new year. They hope to be ready to start distributing items by the end of January or first of February.

Cato asks that donors call the church at

801-392-8168 before dropping off linens. Donors may also contribute after Jan. 1, if they prefer to wait until after the holidays.

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