PATERSON, NJ – Established under the auspices of St. Luke CDC, and located on Fair Street in the City’s 4th Ward, Christhouse has provided a beacon of hope for area residents since 1997. The non-profit community organization serves as an arm of St. Luke’s Baptist Church to provide outreach to area residents by providing food, clothing, and more.
On Monday morning, more than a dozen members from the congregation oversaw long tables and hanging racks of clothing, as a steady stream of local residents stopped by for the free giveaway of clothing provided by a collection taken in the Town of Secaucus.
Pointing to the quality of the clothes on offer, including name brand items like Ralph Lauren Polo, Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh said his counterpart, Mayor Michael Gonnelli, reached out to arrange for the collaboration.
“We are happy that St. Luke’s made this happen,” Sayegh added.
Asked by TAPinto Paterson what drove them to spend time in below freezing temperatures to participate in the giveaway volunteers on hand answered with a near unanimous: to help others.
These included Sherri Bass, a Clifton resident and recent member of St. Luke’s. “I was looking for a new church home. I chose St. Luke’s,” the California transplant said before adding that the church’s focus on the community made it a good fit for her. Participating in such service projects, she said, is “second nature.”
“I love the fellowship here,” she concluded.
Identifying himself as Keyshawn, a man wearing a winter jacket and stocking cap took several minutes to examine shirts and pants. “I am showing my appreciation for this by coming and receiving clothes,” Keyshawn stated, as he finished filling a bag. “For me, the best thing in life is giving.”
A trio of friends, Yvonne Bauer, Crystal Sullivan, and Mamie Salmon, worked together at several tables helping visitors find the proper size for their choices. Bauer, who said she moved to Paterson about five years ago from Pennsylvania, gave thanks that a change in the weather made the giveaway a bit easier. Perhaps aided by some divine intervention Bauer described that “the forecast predicted an ice storm but that didn’t happen.”
Before the pandemic, Bauer said, Christchurch was open for the public to receive food and clothing three times a week but has been limited to twice a month due to the outbreak. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, clothing is distributed outside rather than inside the building, according to workers.
“I love to volunteer. I’m working for the Lord,” Bauer exclaimed.
Even with the reduced hours the support of Christhouse has been extremely helpful to local families, including her own, during the public health crisis, Gloria Mayoria said.
“I worked at a cosmetic factory, in Totowa, but when the coronavirus came, I was laid off and have not worked since,” the married mother of three explained.
“Money has been a big problem so this is a good thing.” Mayoria summarized.
Surveying the results of the work as ones that made him happy Daryl Bell, a lifelong Patersonian, 17-year members of St. Luke’s, and the director of Christhouse relayed that while all the men’s clothing was gone there were plenty of items left for children.
The giveaway will continue on Thursday from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.
Christhouse is located at 269 Fair Street.