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Church helps women, children in need



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January 18, 2012 - Church of the Resurrection Episcopal Church off Clarkston Road is helping abused women and children.

The church is partnering with Haven, headquarters in Pontiac, to help provide new underwear for women and children leaving domestic abuse situations, through an effort known as Undies Sundays.

"We're kind of the conduit because we feel it's real important to support people," said reverend of the church, Mother Cynthia Garman. "You can borrow somebody's coat, you can wear hand-me-down jeans, but the dignity for women and children to have their own underwear until they get back on their feet is real important."

Garman noted the children of the congregation understand the importance very clearly.

"It was really kind of exciting to see them really get it," she said. "In some ways it took a little longer than the adults."

Garman said Undie Sundays is not just the church helping, but an opportunity for the community to get involved as well.

"The name of this church sometimes sounds like an inside word. 'Resurrection,' but it really means new life, she said. "We believe in our name and we are the name. We can't do it all that's why we want to look to the community.

Community residents can drop off new packages of underwear of all sizes for women and children at the church. Independence Township Library across the street is also a drop off site as well.

Library Director Julie Meredith said she laughed when she first received the call to be a drop off spot for underwear.

"I get asked unusual questions on a regular basis, and it was a new one on me," she said. "We've been asked to collect food, asked to collect batteries, pet supplies, but never underwear."

After the laugh, Meredith said she thought of the importance of the church's project and it struck home with her.

"Once I thought about a battered woman and her children leaving a dangerous situation without the basic daily necessities we all take for granted," she said. "I thought you know what? Let people laugh a little that we're doing this. Hopefully they'll think about the importance of the actual outcome."

Tracy Thomas, a worker at Haven, said they rely on community support.

"We can't do what we do without the support of the community," Thomas said. "A lot of women who come to the shelter with their children come with very little. We provide support for them, from pajamas to clothing to underwear, everything they need while they're in our care. This is a great help to us."

Dorothy Dowlan, a member of the church congregation, hopes publicity will help the effort be an ongoing effort by the church.

"Although we consider our Clarkston community to be a safe and trusted environment that by publicizing we're doing this effort, perhaps someone can be reached by it," she said. "Be encouraged and be empowered to seek out safety and to make a change for the betterment of themselves and their children."

Church of the Resurrection is located at 6490 Clarkston Road. Church office hours are Mon. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and Wed-Thurs 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Independence Township Library is located at 6495 Clarkston Road and is open Mon-Thurs. 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sun. 1 p.m.-5 p.m. For more information on Haven visit www.haven-oakland.org.

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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