Community Closet

Sugar River United Methodist Church operates the Community Closet to provide needed clothing and hygiene items to VASD youth.

Sugar River United Methodist Church, 415 W. Verona Ave., is holding a winter gear drive to collect new and gently used items for its Community Closet.

From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays through Oct. 29, people may drop off clean winter gear into a cart outside the church.

The five categories of items needing donated are boots, winter jackets, snow pants, hats, and waterproof gloves/mittens.

Items for youth in pre-K up through 12th grade are needed.

According to the Serve Director Erin Wilson, who oversees ministry and mission at Sugar River UMC, the church’s Community Closet provides basic hygiene items and warm winter gear to children and youth in need in the Verona Area School District.

“There’s a greater need for winter gear this year due to COVID monetary challenges,” Wilson said. “We’re encouraging people to take a moment to look in their closet and find items that don’t fit or they’d like to donate. Please bring them clean – you wouldn’t give a dirty gift.”

Wilson said washing the items before donating is especially important right now with COVID-19.

Social workers in the district have a key to access the closet 24/7 and items are collected year-round to keep it well-stocked.

VASD social worker Trista Olson helps identify the most emergent items kids need.

Those include personal hygiene items such as shampoo, conditioner, feminine hygiene products, soap, blankets, socks, underwear and gym shoes.

It also includes gift cards for food to Millers, Kwik Trip, and Target.

Monetary donations can be made on UMC’s website or checks may by sent to the church with ‘community closet’ written in the memo.

Details for how area families in need can request the winter gear will be announced soon.

Neal Patten can be contacted at