‘Clothed in Cullman’ raises more than $18K for Curt’s Closet

Ashley Wilson with student volunteers who wore Curt Wilson’s Cullman High School baseball jersey number at the inaugural Clothed in Cullman event Saturday. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala.  – Hundreds of Cullman-area residents turned out at the Cullman Civic Center Saturday to shop, eat and show their support for Ashley Wilson and her free clothing boutique, Curt’s Closet. At “Clothed in Cullman,” tables were set for a good-sized crowd, based on ticket pre-sales, but with people lining up to pay at the door, volunteers were already putting out extra tables within minutes of the official event opening.

At that time, Wilson told The Tribune, “This is our first annual, and the turnout is overwhelming. I appreciate everyone coming out and supporting Curt’s Closet. The crowd is overwhelming.  We’re actually having to get more tables at the moment because we have more people, and that’s amazing!  I’m not complaining!”

Wilson continued, “We have so many sponsors, there’s no way I could even start to thank everybody.  We have over $11,000 in silent auction items. We have tons of door prizes. Southern Eats is here with delicious food.  Our main sponsor is Traditions Bank; we do want to thank them, because they were a huge contributor to Clothed in Cullman.

“Because of this community, this turnout is what it is and what Curt’s Closet is today, because of this community and the support.  Just looking around at everybody that’s here shows me that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing, and everyone is backing me. It’s a great feeling and I appreciate everybody so much.”

Helen Lewis reported after the event that Clothed in Cullman raised more than $18,000, sharing, “We could not be more overwhelmed and thankful for the support of our community.”

Born from tragedy

Curt’s Closet was founded by Wilson in memory of her son, Curtis “Curt” Wilson, who was killed May 7, 2017 in an automobile accident when the car driven by Ashley Wilson was struck by a vehicle driven by Bradford Meeks.  Meeks, found to have been intoxicated at the time of the crash, is awaiting trial for reckless murder and other charges.

Clothed in Cullman was held on the weekend closest to the anniversary of the accident.

Ashley Wilson wrote about the founding of Curt’s Closet: “Curt had a gift for loving others with the love of Christ… he brightened any room he walked into and touched many lives with his sincere care and concern for others.  His wit and humor made everyone he came in contact with walk away smiling! I want to continue his gift of love by lessening the burden of the expenses that parents face each year as their children go back to school and throughout the year.  In doing so, we collect donations of gently used/new clothing, shoes, backpacks and lunch boxes. There’s no greater gift I can give in memory of my son than that of making a difference in the lives of those in need. It’s what Curt would want… to make life a little easier and make people smile.”

A slide show running during the event included testimonials from clients.  

One read: “I don’t think words adequately express how grateful I am to have found Curt’s Closet in a time when I really needed it the most.  I have several children and getting them all clothed for school is quite a challenge. Not only did I receive clothes from Curt’s Closet for my children, but they were very NICE clothes, something we could never have been able to afford otherwise.

“It gives my children a sense of confidence to be able to go to school and not feel like the ‘hand me down’ kid.  I grew up not having this opportunity and it makes me feel good to be able to provide them with that.

“I really want people to know that this is a great service and greatly appreciated by those in this community who have benefited from it.”

Learn more at www.facebook.com/cw20curtscloset.

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W.C. Mann