Winston-Salem church uses clothes giveaway to register people to vote

Individuals from the community came to check out the clothing giveaway. Many said they needed clothes for church and their jobs.

Winston-Salem church uses clothes giveaway to register people to vote
September 08
06:20 2016

Photos by Timothy Ramsey



Giving back to the community is a part of many church ministries around Winston-Salem. Goler Metropolitan used a clothing giveaway to get people in the door to achieve the church’s ultimate goal of registering individuals to vote.

According to church officials, Goler Metropolitan is an intergenerational congregation embracing the importance and value of every individual, and his or her age, gifts and talents.

The idea for this event came about because of a church member who had a family member with an abundance of clothing that the family member wanted to give to the church to do something with.  The church in turn decided to hold a clothing drive. During the church’s’ monthly “lunch and learn” meeting they discussed the importance of voter registration and decided to combine the two events.

Rhonda Johnson, organizer for the give-away/voter drive, said the clothing drive was used to attract the people they may not have otherwise been able to come in contact with. The church targeted areas around the church, such as the Bethesda Center, Better Women’s Shelter and the Salvation Army shelter to bring people in, along with Facebook and the church website.

“We are in a time where we need to educate our people,” said Johnson. “When you start registering people, you educate them about the alternatives they have as far as how they can vote.  Hopefully, with the people we have coming in today, it will make an impact on voting. This is a foundation that needs to be taught to our younger people because they are our future and they need to be aware and knowledgeable about the candidates.”

People of all ages were coming in to check out the clothes that were available as well as to register to vote.  The people who were able to find clothes and shoes to fit were very thankful for the items.

“I feel like this is very helpful because some people don’t have anything,” said Lakera Stevenson. “I think a lot of churches should do this because there are so many people in need.”

Willie Leach, a new-comer in town from West Virginia, said, “Registering people to vote is very important because that’s the only way we are going to find out what’s really going on. It’s up to us to vote the right people into the position to make sure they do what they say they will do. The clothing giveaway is a blessing because all I have is what’s on my back.”

Goler Metropolitan Pastor Rev. Johnny L. Ruff says the church looked at the opportunity to give away clothes to the community but they didn’t want to stop there and said, “Let’s see if we can also get people to register.”

“This is a prime time for registration and we want everybody to have the opportunity to vote,” said Ruff.  “We want people to understand the process and we certainly want people to be a part of this year’s election. It’s critical that we participate because when we fail to participate, we become victims. When we are involved, we have the opportunity to become victors.”

Ruff said there are nothing but positives from events like these because in the short run they are meet-ing a need by helping people with clothing and getting people involved in the political process. In the long run, he says, it enables the church to help people to grow and be involved in the community. He said it’s something we as a people have not done enough of and we cannot sit back and wait for things to happen; we have to make them happen.

Monique Broadway, a Winston-Salem native, said she was thankful for the giveaway and the opportunity to register to vote because of today’s political climate.

“It helps a lot when people don’t really have much to get for their kids. It’s really nice to give back to the people who don’t have a lot, and I’m really grateful,” Broadway concluded.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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