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Woodstock church gives clothing--and hope

by: David F. Ashton, Tremont Evangelical Church members Vivian O’Day, Pam DuClos, Pastor Ed Kelly, and Margie Bean prepare the clothing they give to the needy each month.

Many long-established congregations have moved out of Southeast Portland, following their parishioners' flight to the suburbs.

'Before we built our current 'new' church 30 years ago,' says Senior Pastor Ed Kelly of Tremont Evangelical Church. 'Our congregation decided we'd stay here in Woodstock instead of moving. Even though many of our members have moved away, they've stayed attached to our church.'

In addition to ministering to the needs of the members of the church, Kelly says the goal is to be community-minded. 'We are a faith-based community partner with Rose Development, schools, and anyone would like to work with us.'

We visited the church on Saturday, February 10th, to view its free clothing distribution program.

'We're using our resources to help our community,' explained the program's director, Pam DuClos. 'There are a lot of people in need; and we have a lot of surplus. We want to connect our bounty with the needs of the community.'

DuClos said their volunteers examine every item of clothing to make sure it isn't ripped or soiled - and that it is usable.

The variety we saw laid out of the tables in the church's recreation area was astonishing. 'We have sizes fitting newborns to adults, for both men and women.'

Kelly explained the charity program: 'We provide free clothing to anyone who needs it. With no questions asked, we'll help you, and you can go. You aren't going to be preached at.'

Eventually, church plans to increase its 'food closet' program as well. 'We already have a 'Helping Hands' program that is done by request. Our committee delivers food to those who need it,' Kelly told us.

The free clothing program runs on the second Saturday of every month between 10 am and noon. For more information, visit the Internet website: www.tremontchurch.org. Or, call 503/774-6689.