ENNIS – People in the community who have become financially victimized by the economic downturn have a place they can go to find free clothing – Trinity United Methodist Church at 1500 Hall St.

The congregation, which was founded in 1963 as Rider Methodist Church, offers clothing from three pantries – one for ladies, one for gentlemen and one for children from infant through grade school ages.

The pantry is open each week on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and is manned by church members Helen Corey, Stella Mooring, Virga Lekar and Linda Macalik.

Long-time church member, Mooring, recalled the events that led up to the benevolent organization.

“About six years ago, our pastor, Karen Griffith, asked us to try to think of something we could do that would be a benefit to the community,” she said. “Then she passed sheets of paper around and asked us to write down what our suggestion would be. I wrote down ‘clothes pantry’ because that’s what our church in Dallas did and it was a real success.”

Mooring said Griffith chose her idea for a community project for Trinity UMC.

The Ennis native, who, herself, has been a minister’s wife, met her husband while he was pastor of a church, Saint’s Delight Methodist Church of Ennis. The couple ministered in San Antonio, Lockhart and Dallas before returning to their hometown.

The women, who cooperatively manage the clothes pantry, say it gives them a good feeling to be a part of an organization that helps people in need.

“A young man just stopped in today and was looking for something to wear to a funeral in Dallas,” Lekar said. “And one lady with five children came into the pantry with three of them. They visit us regularly. She always tells us how much she appreciates getting to come in and get clothes for her children.”

Corey shared a story about a man who came in one day looking for some clothes.

“He was going directly to a job interview – so we picked out some nice clothes for him and got him dressed up right here,” she said with a chuckle. “After he showed us the clothes, I looked down at his tennis shoes and said, ‘You can’t go to your interview wearing those – we need to fix you up with some decent shoes.’ ”

She agreed that the work is rewarding.

“It really makes you feel good being able to help people,” Corey said. “And we try to keep the place here neat and clean – but you know, when we have a bunch of people coming in at one time, looking for clothes, it gets pretty messy.”

Although the clothes are free, people who patronize the clothes pantry are given an opportunity to make a donation.

“Not too long ago, someone dropped in a five-dollar bill in – but mostly there are quarters in it,” Lekar said. “The money goes back into the church to help pay the light bill.”

The present pastor, Dr. Larry Jinks, who also ministers at Bardwell Methodist Church, has been with the church three years, with the women noting that he has begun a Monday night Bible study group at Ennis Health Care, located next to the church.

For more information about the clothes pantry, call 972-878-7464 or leave a message at 972-875-5382.

Contact Paul at paul.gauntt@wninews.com or 469-517-1450.