Every Sunday, hangers pile up in a corner of a small dress store next to St. Mary’s Church at Njarakkal.
Dresses flying off those hangers are not a measure of the profits being made by the shop owner. Still, it fills those behind the shop with joy.
For, the shop “Give and Take” does not sell clothes but makes them available to the needy for free. Anyone can drop in and pick up three pieces between 9 a.m. and 12 noon on Sundays, the only time it remains open in a week since its inception around two years ago.
“I had this idea all along, which I discussed with my friend and film director Jiju Jacob during one of our morning walks. He was very supportive and we just went ahead with it,” recollected Jojo Thomas, the driving force behind the initiative.
It became a lot popular after actor Tini Tom visited the shop and endorsed it on the social media.
Mr. Thomas discounts the possibility of the service being exploited by those other than the targeted beneficiaries. “Around 100-150 people drop in every Sunday out of which some 10 people may be taking undue advantage. Besides, we don’t allow visitors to take clothes other than for themselves,” he said.
The number of visitors has dropped from a previous high of around 250 since the floods. It was either due to a drop in demand as clothes were supplied in abundance during the flood relief period or the shop’s plummeting stock after its own contribution to flood victims. While there are around 5 volunteers helping with the sorting and display of clothes in the shop, it is Mr. Thomas, notwithstanding his professional engagements as a plumber, who drives around and collects clothes, mostly used ones. Another 40-member support group helps with funding when needed.
Of late, the shop has started getting materials other than clothes. “Once we displayed a pair of new shoes contributed by a policeman. We were moved to tears when we saw a small child jumping around in joy in those shoes. Shortly thereafter, we sourced over a hundred pairs of school shoes,” said Mr. Thomas.
Those willing to contribute to the shop may call: 94472-90202, 94473-78329.