Clothing, retail ministries prepare to open

By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

DAVENPORT — Although Cinderella’s Cellar resale shop, operated by the Catholic Service Board, and the Clothing Center at Minnie’s Maison, a ministry of Sacred Heart Cathedral, remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, preparations to reopen are underway.

Carol Harrison
A volunteer with Catholic Service Board sorts clothing at Cinderella’s Cellar resale shop. Cinderella’s Cellar and the Clothing Center at Minnie’s Maison, both in Davenport, are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Since May 19, Cinderella’s Cellar has been accepting donations on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to noon, Thursdays from noon to 3 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. The store has been closed to shoppers since March 14.

“We realized that other resale shops were doing this also and we didn’t want to lose our customer base that has been so generous to us over the years,” said Carol Harrison, one of five co-chairs of Cinderella’s Cellar. The resale shop accepts donations at the back door. Volunteers wear masks and gloves to take the donations, which are processed a week after being received.

Co-chairmen and volunteers who feel comfortable working at the store during the pandemic engage in sorting and pricing of items during drop-off hours. Usually there are no more than three or four people in the store at one time, Harrison said.

Strict rules will be followed when the store reopens. Customers and workers will wear masks, sanitizing procedures will be followed and dressing rooms likely will be closed. No return items will be accepted and the number of customers will be limited. Volunteers are working to build and install a Plexiglas shield over the cash register area and the jewelry counter. The store’s hours of operation may also vary because of a drop in membership and people available to run the shop, Harrison said.

Volunteers have been helping at the Clothing Center at Minnie’s Maison since mid-April, a month after the center closed because of the pandemic. Volunteer coordinator Mary Gilhooly “filled the few emergency requests that we had and maintained the house,” said Connie Moreno, the center’s president. Another volunteer arrived in mid-May to reorganize the entire inventory and prepare for (the future) opening.

Moreno said clients may complete emergency request forms, which are filled by volunteers and then picked up at curbside by the requestor. “We have completed about 10 requests in the last month. We will have to continue to fill requests for clothing like this until the Quad Cities is at phase 3 according to the Iowa Health Department,” Moreno said. “Our house can’t operate at 50% capacity because of the numbers that we were reaching before COVID-19. Typically we would have 40-60 people through in a two-hour span.”

A limited number of items were available during an outdoor pop-up-tent giveaway June 13 in the driveway. Chalk lines were used to encourage social distancing and masks were required. Future pop-up-tent events will be Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Also, visit the Facebook page Clothing Center at Minnie’s Maison for details.

Donations are not being accepted at this time. Moreno hopes that might begin in July. “We have been receiving lots of calls and emails and our generous donors are saving us their best so we hope to start soon.”

Both Harrison and Moreno thank their supporters for holding onto donations to serve people in the Quad-City area. They look forward to being able to open their doors when the time is right.

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