For many years the churches of Iowa have helped to support women leaving the Mitchellville prison by giving to the Clothing Closet that has been a joint project of Women at the Well and the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women. Your generosity has given clothes, underwear, toiletries—and dignity—to these women who are often going out with only their prison scrubs. Unfortunately, the Clothing Closet is being shut down indefinitely, effective by mid-November.
This change was dictated by the prison administration, which is stretching to accommodate transition needs with the current construction project. The Clothing Closet building needs to be demolished, and there is no space available for its contents. While the prison intends to build a new building to accommodate this project in the future, that will probably not be completed until mid-2015. So over the next 30 days we have been asked to move our current clothes, shoes, intimates, towels and toiletries to ministries that can make them available to women in need, especially those leaving prison. If you know of groups that would be interested in picking up some of these items, please invite them to be in touch with us.
In light of these developments, Women at the Well can no longer receive donations of items for the Clothing Closet. We know that some of you are already collecting items—you always are!—and we regret that this transition could not happen with longer notice. Please continue your efforts and then take those donations to a halfway house or shelter in your area.
With or without the Clothing Closet, Women at the Well will continue to be the church inside the walls of the prison, and our reentry ministry will continue as well, being present with women as they leave prison. We hope you’ll connect with us in these ways and be part of the ongoing story of this great work God is doing in our midst. You can find out more on our Facebook page, Women at the Well UMC, or at our web page, www.womenatthewellumc.org.