Improvements to Share Clothing Barn make shopping easier

Mary Lawson, a volunteer at the Share Clothing Barn in Milford, shows how the new S-hooks make shopping easier.

MILFORD – Just because the shoppers don’t pay is no reason why they shouldn’t have a pleasant shopping experience.

That’s the happy philosophy of the volunteers at the Share Clothing Barn, which has been collecting and giving away gently used clothing and household linens for 35 years.

This spring, Kathy Sharkey and Kathleen Bosch spruced up their space, which is in an old building on the property of St. Patrick Church, but isn’t church-

affiliated. They painted the interior from top to bottom, and installed new racks and bins and a new checkout counter.

Jeans, shorts and other casual pants are on S-hooks for the clear display of sizes.

“It’s transformed … it’s amazing … more user-friendly,” said Wanda Parish, one of the volunteers who called to tell The Cabinet about the renovations. “People love it.”

On June 21, Sharkey, Bosch and the Wednesday morning sorting crew, composed of Parish, Mary Lawson and Sarah Jones, were more than happy to show off the improvements.

“People don’t have to remove the pants” from the hooks to see their sizes, Sharkey said, and all adult clothing is now grouped by size (children’s clothing has always been sized).

“It’s like a real store – very boutiquey,” said Sharkey, who said it’s “more pleasant for shoppers.”

All sizes of women’s, men’s and children’s clothing are available. There are exercise tops and bottoms and an ample supply of new socks and underwear, still in their packages, along with neat stacks of bath and table linens, and some yarn and other craft items.

“We are very fortunate” to have so many donors, Sharkey said, although she said they could use more new kids swimwear and beach towels.

The Clothing Barn is part of Share Outreach, which serves people in Amherst, Milford, Mont Vernon and Brookline. Although Wilton isn’t part of the Share area – it has its own food pantry – residents from Wilton are welcome to sign up for the Clothing Barn through Share Outreach.

Share’s Food Pantry started many years ago at St. Patrick and moved to the old Knights of Columbus building, on Columbus Avenue off Elm Street, in 2009.

The Clothing Barn accepts donations of gently used, in-season items in excellent condition. Potential shoppers must get a shopper’s card at Share, and proof of residency is required. Families with children are eligible to take 20 items a week and adults are eligible for 10 items a week.

In May, the barn had 246 visits and gave away 2,277 pieces of clothing with a total value of nearly $19,000 based on a value calculation used by Goodwill Industries.

Volunteers worked 312 hours during 17 shopping days in May.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or