Franciscan Healthcare Responds to Families’ Clothing Needs

Sister JulieAnn Sheahan

April 08, 2024

Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Elizabeth Miller shares on a local community outreach project at Franciscan Healthcare, West Point, Nebraska

It all began about eight years ago when Sister Joy Rose was assisting a family in need at the Franciscan Healthcare food pantry when they asked if they had any clothing available. This request had come up a few times causing Sister Joy to begin considering what can be done to address this need. She approached Sister Elizabeth Ann Miller about developing some place where people in need could have access to clothing. The two began to put their heads together to figure out where they could set up a shop. Because the hospital had no available space they looked at the old convent. With the pastor’s approval, the basement pantry room below the kitchen would be home to this new adventure. With the help of the GACC high school students and one of the mothers, they tackled the room and transformed its dark grey cinderblock walls to a bright white and blue. Next, the school held a clothing drive to fill the shelves. With the extra money from Sr. Elizabeth Ann’s snack shack, totes were purchased to store the clothing. Eventually, the school and hospital collected money to donate for further fixing up the room and purchasing more items.

Over the years the clothing closet has grown with the addition of more shelves and better lighting. With the help of Sr. Joy’s sister and brother-in-law, who were visiting in October, shelves were moved from the upstairs bedrooms to the shop for increased storage space.

Recently two Franciscan Healthcare employees, Jill Hakle and Olivia Walker, took upon themselves the clothes closet as their mission awareness project to organize and sort the clothing. They were God sent because the Sisters and some students couldn’t keep up with a few hours a month to sort the many clothes dropped off. So, these two highly organized ladies were able to turn this shop into a beautiful boutique space. The finishing touch was a stenciled rug on the floor and a solid oak round table. This transformation over the years has created a place of beauty and dignity for those economically challenged (the items are free) and seeking assistance.

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