Luke’s Closet Provides Clothes for Foster Kids

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MTT News's picture
By: 
Michelle Phillips
Luke’s Closet, located in St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Middleton, offers free clothing to children in foster care. The service will celebrate a year in service on June 2. Above: children “shop” at Luke’s Closet.

MIDDLETON–When a speaker came to St. Luke’s Lutheran Church to discuss the topic of foster care, it set the ball rolling for a free clothing service, Luke’s Closet, offered to foster families, adoptive families  and the kinship community, which consists of a family member, often a grandmother, who is caring for a child. 

“The idea for a clothing bank happened over lunch with myself and two other moms. We were connected with two other women who were already actively supporting foster families and boom…Luke’s Closet began,” said Kim Nickel who works as a communications specialist for the church. 

Luke’s Closet is run by volunteers and offers specific shopping days as well as shopping by appointment. In addition, the volunteers create clothing care packages that consist of a homemade pillowcase filled with clothes for foster kids. The pillowcases are then delivered to a location near the child. 

“In one year, we have served over 250 children and we’re gaining momentum,” Nickel said, and included that the clothing comes from church members and those in the community throughout Middleton and Madison. 

Kaylee, a foster mom who wished to keep her last name anonymous, said she first learned about the service in a foster care newsletter she receives, then it popped up again on a foster care Facebook page. She said she has been a foster care provider for about a year and Luke’s Closet has been a great resource for her family. 

“Often times, kids come with barely anything if they come with anything at all.  My husband and I are open to almost all ages and it is nearly impossible to have clothes on hand for all age groups.  When we get a placement, we can set up a private shopping day for our kid or we can wait until the shopping day for all of foster care. This is nice because the kids can pick out their own clothes,” Kaylee explained, adding that the service is useful when seasons change, or kids outgrow their clothes. 

She said that the staff is always kind, caring and helpful and that the service means a lot to displaced kids. “Luke's Closet also puts together Welcome Bags for foster kids when they first get placed in to a home.  Often times this may include a back pack, pillow case, some clothing items, a book, etc. and a personalized note telling the kids they are important and loved.  This is so sweet and usually lights up the kid's face,” she said.

Luke’s Closet, though located in Middleton, people around Dane County can utilize the service. The church has partnered with others around the county to provide pick up sites for families. 

The next shopping day at Luke’s Closet at St. Luke’s is Aug. 21 from 5-8 p.m. To schedule a personal shopping appointment call 608-234-0146, or to receive a delivery. Complete the online form at, stlukes-elca.org/lukes-closet.

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