The ‘Closet’ closes

Gail CoxFeature, Halls

Today may be the tomorrow you dared to dream about yesterday.

Yesterday was 11 years ago when Martha Arnold Charnay envisioned a resource to provide clothing to families in the Halls community who needed help. As founder and president of the Halls Crossroads Women’s League, she worked with Hallsdale Powell Utility District to gain permission to use the building at the corner of Cunningham Road and Maynardville Highway as a collection and distribution point for the “Closet.”

League member Millie Norris was selected as the first closet coordinator.

As the years rolled by, the closet expanded its services and coordinated with schools and other organizations to identify individuals who could best be helped with clothing. During this time, volunteers from the HCWL opened the closet two days a week, helped clients shop, sorted through donated items to make certain clothing was gently used and in good condition, and changed out the clothing with the seasons.

During the past few years, free school supplies were added to the services and distributed to many children in Knox and Union counties. In addition, clothing was sent to various locations in Appalachia and to the Chippewa Indian Tribe in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Fast forward to today. After successfully serving more than 6,630 individuals and almost 2,000 families, the closet no longer sees the usage it did in the past. Many churches and other civic and service organizations now meet individual and family needs for clothing and school supplies.

And so, the closet closes its doors – and a dream is marked fulfilled. HCWL members who volunteered know that the hours they contributed helped make it happen.

The Halls Crossroads Women’s League is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that primarily serves the Halls community and Knox County.

Gail Cox coordinates publicity for the Halls Crossroads Women’s League.

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