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BRIEF: Ragfinery opens community closet in Bellingham

Available 24/7, the community closet serves to provide weather-appropriate clothing for those in need

The exterior of Ragfinery, located at 1421 N Forest Street in Bellingham, Wash. on Feb. 29, 2024. Ragfinery is a non-profit retail store focused on educating the community on textile waste and creative reusability, open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. // Photo by William Morton

Ragfinery, teamed up with Habitat for Humanity and the Restore to create a community closet in Bellingham, with the purpose of providing clothing to those who may not be able to afford it. 

The closet opened on Feb. 15 following an idea from two Ragfinery retail staff who had been interacting with the community and saw the need for more readily available clothing, said Arora Rowena Timberlyn, retail manager of Ragfinery.

“[A]s far as outreach, it has definitely brought more people to us seeking help and seeking weather-appropriate gear,” Timberlyn said.

Once the idea was born, Timberlyn reached out to other nonprofits around the community and began allocating funds towards making the community closet.  

“From [Habitat for Humanity], we were able to get the filing cabinet that we needed, and from the Restore, we were able to get some doors, some roofing, some paint, some things that were needed for constructing the structure,” Timberlyn said.

Community Closet
Hailey Cribb, left, and Birdie Rose, right, stand beside the community closet on Feb. 13, 2024 in Bellingham, Wash. Located off of Forest Street outside of Ragfinery, the community closet is open 24/7. // Photo courtesy of Arora Rowena Timberlyn

Kim Spencer, the resource navigator for LINC North West, a non-profit organization in Marysville, has been working with their own community closet for about a year.

The LINC NW community closet has been open for around two years, Spencer said, going on to explain that they “are constantly evolving and trying to flow with the needs of the community.”

For Ragfinery’s community closet, all the clothes are provided by Ragfinery, and they are urging people not to drop clothes directly at Ragfinery. Donations are accepted 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. 

The community closet is located outside of Ragfinery at 1421 N Forest Street.

William Morton

William Morton (he/him) is a third year news and editorial major reporting about city life for The Front this quarter. Outside of school, he enjoys playing the banjo and attempting to read Finnegans Wake. You can contact him at williammorton.thefront@gmail.

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