AUSTIN, Texas--In 1999, the Rev. Bill Harris, superintendent of the Austin District, asked Ralph Eckwall, president of Capital District UM Men, if his organization could sponsor a clothes closet for homeless men.
Two weeks later––with donations from Crestview UMC, Tarrytown UMC, and St. John’s UMC––the closet was organized.
Three members of Crestview UMC––John Carlson, George Griffin, and Lewis Gillette–– joined Eckwall and Harris to become the first volunteers to staff the closet.
On April, 27, with the support of the Austin Resource for Homeless, the Clothes Closet served its 20,000th customer at its fifth home in the Austin Central Presbyterian Church.
The motto of the Capital District sponsors is, “We are the servants––God is the provider.”
Photo 1 - Ralph Eckwall, coordinator of the closet (center right), joins other volunteers in congratulating the 20,000th customer (center left).