Clothing Corral serving community members in need

By: 
Yaneek Smith

         “We are a Christian ministry providing clothing to people in need regardless of residence, citizenship, ethnicity, gender or religion. We provide clothing to people in need at no cost, and build lasting relationships with our clients characterized by Christian love, trust and respect.”
        That is part of the mission statement of the Clothing Corral.
         The organization, founded by Jeff and Tracy Hartlage, is located at 160 W. Water Street in Oak Harbor and has an abundant supply of clothing to help supply the needs of local families.
        “I think that because I have been through different circumstances in my life, and my faith helped me. I want to help others. I am hopeful that the store not just serves clothing needs for people, but that they find encouragement from our faith,” she said. “I hope that we build relationships and want people to know our belief that God is our hope.”
        Thus far, the reception from the community has been overwhelmingly positive. An open house was held last weekend and the store was able to open itself up to the community.
        “There’s been an amazing reception, people have been so supportive,” Tracy said. “They’re happy to have somewhere to donate clothes, “They love that there is a place where people can come shop. They’re glad to have this place local.
         “We’re excited and a little overwhelmed because the place is getting such a great reception. I feel a lot of pressure sometimes to do it exactly the way we need to so it’s what people need,” she said.
        The clothing is available free of charge, but there are some rules that exist to ensure that clothing goes to people who need them most:
        • The person accepting the clothes must acknowledge that purchasing clothing would put a financial burden on the family budget;
        • The clothing received is for your personal (or family) use, not for sale or trade;
        • A person is permitted to take a limited number of articles of clothing for him or herself, and a spouse and children under the age of 18 (typically seven articles of clothing per family number).
        • A person may visit the store once every quarter;
        • A photo I.D. is required for each visit;
        • Providing false information on the registration form will disqualify a person from further service;
        • Food and beverages are prohibited inside of the store.
         The store is open Tuesdays from 1-6:30 p.m. and Thursdays from 7 a.m.-noon and by appointment. Appointments may be made by texting or calling Tracy at 419-898-3906 or sending her an email to clothingcorraloh@gmail.com. There is also a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ClothingCorralOH/.
         “I would like people to know that anyone is welcome,” Tracy says. “If you’re willing to come in, that’s humbling enough. We had somebody ask today if you have to live in Oak Harbor. You don’t even have to live in our area to come.”
 

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