Daily Times Leader

Donnie Berry helps those in need with her clothing closet


Donnie Berry, a resident of West Point, believes in helping the community she loves so much.

Berry, founder of Lighthouse’s Gateway of Hope for Women and Children, began helping her community through her organization, run out of the St. Matthew’s Temple Church of God in Christ (COGIC), by helping women learn more about themselves, what they have to offer other people around them, and how to make it in today’s world.

“The mission [of the organization] is to help transform women’s lives,” said Berry.

“So they can be confident and well informed in making decisions. Because, as you know, today women are buying houses and, you know, women are doing so many other things.”

But for Berry, informing women was just not enough. So, around two years ago, she started collecting clothing to give away to members of the surrounding community.

It started out with clothing for women and children, but swiftly included clothing for men as well. Now she has a room in the St. Matthew’s Temple COGIC that is packed full of clothing items. A second room also has items stored in it because the first room has no more room.

Berry is having no trouble finding people to take advantage of her closet.

“We had a lady in on Tuesday I believe it was, she came in and left with several bags,” said Berry.

“Not only her, but we’ve had [many] ladies coming in for various reasons”

The original idea of a clothing closet was set forth by Benda Williams, wife of Pastor Rosevelt Williams, who had a real desire to reach out to the community. Berry and Williams worked closely together to get the closet up and running and get it to grow into what it has become today.

“Since it’s been open we have seen women coming in and how it’s been helping them,” said Berry.

“And we actually look at it in several ways. For one thing, in terms of helping to keep some money in people’s pockets, when they come to the closet, they can do some of their shopping here, because we have things all the way from designer names to what have you. So, we have that going and we think about helping to keep money in womens pockets. And we also think about our planet, of course. As much as we can today, we can reuse things. As you know, and I feel that is all of our responsibility. To take care of the planet, to take care of the earth. And then another thing is that it actually reaches out, because as the women come in we can make them aware of other things we are doing.”

Berry intends to keep growing and expanding, not only the closet, but growing the Lighthouse’s Gateway of Hope for Women and Children mission work as well. She hopes that what she does can have a great impact on the lives of women, and indeed everyone, in the West Point community.






Alberta Newspaper Group