After a clothing bank in Larry Langer’s community of Gilbert, Arizona closed in 2008, his wife and several others decided they would fill the gap created by the closure.
Opening Clothes Cabin in 2008 through One Small Step, the organization is dedicated to helping children, families and individuals living in poverty to attain a more productive life by providing quality clothes, shoes, and other support services. As a volunteer and Board Treasurer for One Small Step, Larry is helping to champion thousands of families in need in Arizona.
What inspires you to volunteer?
I’m inspired to volunteer because there’s a need in our community probably like any other community. Providing general health, hygiene and wellbeing items for people without the means to purchase their own clothing or shoes helps to improve their acceptance into the community.
Describe your role with One Small Step.
We serve over 12,000 people each year at One Small Step. I help with any maintenance tasks at the facility, including building and repairing. I primarily built shelving and installed all the cabinets in the laundry room, break room and classroom.
What’s one way you hope to inspire others in your service?
I have been able to recruit other volunteers to serve with our program, these individuals wouldn’t have otherwise been involved in the things that we do.
A variety of different programs are offered at One Small Step. Explain.
One of the services we provide is Homeless Assistance. We offer facilities such as showers, washers and dryers so that the homeless can do their laundry or take a shower. In addition to Homeless Assistance and Clothes Cabin, we offer Back to Work, which provides support and resources for clients who are seeking or have newly obtained employment and Share Partners, which provides clothing to other partner agencies within the community.
What’s been the most rewarding part of your service?
It’s rewarding to work with all the other volunteers and to continue to see the services that we provide expand. It’s also been rewarding to see how that need in our community has been met.
You’re helping a part of the community that has nowhere else to turn. What does that mean to you?
It means a lot to me that we are able to help this segment of our community whose needs may not always be recognized. It feels great that we are able to help them.
In one phrase, what does volunteerism mean to you?
Giving back. It’s a worthwhile service that I’m fortunate I can be a part of. We know there’s a need and we see the benefits that it provides to clients we serve.
What have you learned through your experiences as a volunteer?
There are lots of people out there that are doing things helping to serve others, most of which you don’t really ever hear about. It’s really great to see such a large number of volunteers out there helping the community.
How can readers help?
Please visit the One Small Step website for more information about how you can help.
Do you want to make a difference in your community like Larry Langer? Find local volunteer opportunities.