A mother of seven sons started a unique charity while living in a homeless shelter. She is using her own money to help clothe others in need.
In a matter of months after Shantie Morgan-Palmer lost the job she held for 12 years, she found herself and her children living in a shelter, unable to find another job.
“No phone calls,” she said. “Rejection after rejection led me to break down, and before I gave up, God reminded me of Evelyn’s Closet.”
Evelyn’s Closet was an idea she had when she was working. She had started to set up a non-profit where women in need could get free clothes.
“Hoping that by providing the essential of clean clothing that we can help families save money for other things,” she said.
She used her last tax refund to rent space at the Riverside Healthy Living Community Center in northeast Washington and convinced some local stores to donate clothes, and Evelyn’s Closet, named after her grandmother, was born.
“And I’ve invested all my spare money into this,” she said.
She operates the charity out of the community center at 5200 Foote St. NE from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays to help women like herself.
Morgan-Palmer says it’s too hard to put into words the joy she gets from helping others, so she shows it by dancing.
She dreams of expanding Evelyn’s Closet to help more families and create a full-time job for herself.
“I one day want to own and operate my own facility where I can open it up from Monday through Friday and I can take in as many clothing donations as possible,” she said.
While the clothing comes from donations and volunteers help her, Morgan-Palmer has to pay rent, and her tax refund is almost gone.
But a local congregation is going to mentor her so she can take Evelyn’s Closet and her family further.
“We’ll be matching her this Saturday with a local congregation who will help her with budgeting, will help her with her vision for her business, will help her with whatever she needs,” said Sonya Crudup, of One Congregation, One Family. “We’re there to meet her needs.”
“Even though my circumstances are set up for me to break, this right here made me stronger than ever,” Morgan-Palmer said through tears. “I’m not going to crack.”