Year-end reports: ‘Laughter, love and the pure presence of the Lord’

Curt’s Closet makes big move in 2021

Christmas Love Inc. passed the torch to Curt’s Closet for the formation of Curt’s Christmas in 2021. L-R: Champ Crocker, Nancy Bryant, Ashley Wilson, Javon Daniel, Angie Jarrett, Helen Lewis, Jayne Roberts. (Cullman Tribune file photo)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Curt’s Closet had a moving experience in 2021, literally. Relocating to a new and larger facility and becoming a full-time operation, the child and youth clothing ministry has expanded to keep up with growing needs.

“This past year has been a roller coaster of a ride for all of us here at Curt’s Closet: many ups and very few downs,” said founder Ashley Wilson. “Laughter, love and the pure presence of the Lord surrounds this building. I am a firm believer that when God gives you a calling, a path forward, and a vision that you have no doubt is only from Him, He will see you through and provide. Curt’s Closet is a true example of God’s work. 

“I have definitely stepped out in Faith this past year. I hate change, it scares me to my core. But, when we were approached by St. John’s Church about their vacant building on 3rd Avenue Southeast, I knew it was time for change. And God had extraordinary plans within these walls.”

Wilson opened the new Curt’s Closet in April at 1101 3rd Ave SE in Cullman, with a much larger building and a separate freestanding warehouse. 

Said Wilson, “With our new expanded square footage, we are able to store numerous items for the families we serve, provide a comfort space for volunteers and add new projects, like Curt’s Christmas. Since moving to our new home we have seen an increase in donations, volunteers and interest about our organization. It amazes me the new connection I make daily here at Curt’s Closet. It makes my heart happy knowing Curt’s legacy lives not only in this community but worldwide.” 

Curt’s Christmas

In the summer, Wilson and her board were approached by Christmas Love, a 25-year-old Cullman-based nonprofit that provides for children in need and their families at Christmas, with an offer to take charge of the program. 

Wilson explained, “After much prayer and thoughts, I knew this was something God had in our future. It is now known as Curt’s Christmas. I am very happy to say we just finished up our first year and it was a huge success. Curt’s Christmas provided 300 children with at least, if not more, six new gifts from their wish list to open on Christmas morning along with new outfits, new coats and new pairs of shoes. We wanted to also bless these families that were struggling this year with household items they might be in need of, such as cleaning supplies, towels, sheets, just to name a few items, plus groceries to stock their cabinets and refrigerators. All of this was made possible through monetary donations, all the wonderful businesses, schools and churches that held toy drives, cleaning supply drives, sponsored children and so much more. I would try to list them all but I know I would leave someone out. Let me take the time here to say a heartfelt ‘Thank you’ to everyone who made this Curt’s Christmas possible. We are already in the works to make next year bigger and better.”

By the numbers

Due to the time involved in the move, Curt’s Closet was open a shorter time than usual in 2021, but the ministry still served 1,716 children, providing them with new outfits, shoes, coats and accessories. 

Wilson noted that the number “does not include the hundreds we served through other organizations. Cullman is truly blessed with amazing organization, serving our neighbors. Just to name a few that Curt’s Closet has partnered with over the past year are: The Link, Victims Service, First Source for Women, United Way and Unsheltered (International). I love being able to network with these and so many others to serve people in need.”

And in 2022?

With the first Curt’s Christmas finished, Wilson looks forward to the first post-COVID “Clothed in Cullman” in 2022. 

Wilson explained, “Clothed in Cullman is our luncheon, silent auction fundraiser. Due to Covid we have been unable to hold it the past two years. We are extremely excited to be able to hold this year. It is such a fun event. You will want to mark your calendar for Clothed in Cullman. We anticipate the tickets will sell out quick. Clothed in Cullman will be held Saturday, May 7, 2022. It is always the Saturday before Mother’s Day. We have a Facebook page, to keep up-to-date with this event we encourage everyone to go follow Clothed in Cullman.”

Wilson added, “We also have a few new projects that we are extremely excited about for 2022 and about to bust to let everyone know, but we have to get everything in order before we can announce. So stay tuned. God isn’t done yet.”

Reflecting on a busy year

“As I look back over the past year a few things really stick out to me,” said Wilson. “It is the families I see at the grocery store or that stop back by to give me their praise report, to let me know where they are now and how Curt’s Closet helped them in their time of need, and what an impact it made on the family. I love to hear how they are paying it forward. That is what life is all about, asking for help when needed, giving help when you can and remembering where you came from and where God has brought you. We are called to serve. 

“Sadly, we live in such a selfish world, it is me, me, me society. If everyone only knew what you get when you serve and help your neighbor. It is truly the most rewarding gift ever! I am living proof, focusing on others can help you survive the darkest days of your life. Because serving is the closest thing you will get to Heaven until we are truly Home.

“Curt was such a joyful soul. His main goal each day was to make someone laugh, smile and feel good about themself. If I can carry on that legacy while I wait to hold Curt again then I am one blessed person. 

“As always, I want to thank all the support from not only this community but from people I have never met and new friends that do not call Cullman home. Curt’s Closet would not be what it is today without everyone who donates clothing, shoes, monetarily, their time and prayers. Thank you!”

The final word

Wilson said, “I would love for every child in need to know where they can come to be loved and leave feeling worthy. Being able to provide basic needs, such as clothing and shoes to a child that might otherwise go without is why we are here. I feel children are the innocent victims of life circumstances. They should not have to go without. Curt’s Closet charges for nothing, everything is FREE. 

“There is a peaceful spirit here, mentioned by many. I feel it and if you walk in these doors, I know you will as well. I encourage anyone wanting to learn more about Curt’s Closet please stop by and see the good work going on. I look forward to meeting new friends.”

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