The Dressing Room in Ashland will reopen Monday at 10 a.m., though restrictions and precautions made necessary by the COVID-19 pandemic will be in effect including the wearing of masks and social distancing.
Tammy McIntyre said the organization is excited to be open again to provide much needed assistance to many Tri-State residents.
McIntyre said The Dressing Room might have been closed to the public for the past two months due to the restrictions, but they have not been idle. During those two months, she and another employee have been thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing everything in preparation of reopening. “We’ve been cleaning and moving everything out, so we are ready to go,” McIntyre said.
“We are starting out with four work stations run by volunteers,” McIntyre said. That number, McIntyre said, will allow plenty of room to maintain social distancing. And if more people volunteer, then there is a plan in place to utilize a storage space as well, which can be blocked off to maintain the safety of both workers and patrons. Everyone will enter through the front door, where a volunteer will be taking everyone’s temperature. Services are appointment-only, based on the first letter of the patron’s last name around a four-day week, with Wednesdays off to allow for a deep cleaning. A through L will be seen on Mondays and Thursdays, and M through Z on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Temporarily, as the Dressing Room moves into the reopening phase, McIntyre said they are going to limit donations to three bags at a time. This limit, she said, will allow for everything to be properly sorted and sanitized.
“Everyone is wearing masks and gloves, and we bring in the bags first,” McIntyre said, “Then we take all the clothes out of the bags and put them in a big bin, where they sit for 24 hours. Then all the clothes are disinfected, sorted and hung up on racks. We are being very serious about protecting everyone’s health. And since we probably won’t have as many volunteers at first, it would be hard to take a truckload donation.”
Given the change in the seasons, McIntyre said that the most commonly needed items are men’s and women’s tennis shoes.
“Men’s sizes 9 to 14, and women’s sizes 6 to 10,” she said. “Right now, we don’t have any tennis shoes at all. And that’s what they are asking for the most.” But McIntyre also pointed out since the room has not taken donations for two months, it really needs a bit of everything.
“We are starting back up with what we had left, and don’t know how long it will last, so we do still need donations,” she said.
There are many different ways to donate to the Dressing Room, McIntyre said. Clothes of all different types and sizes are welcome because need isn’t limited to a single style or size. In order to keep helping the community, volunteers are always needed to sort and put clothing on the racks. Though most people might not think of it, organizations such as The Dressing Room can always benefit from monetary donations because there are utilities to pay and other expenses as well. During the pandemic, cleaning supplies are crucial and can become a drain on limited resources.
“It’s a blessing to be able to help someone,” McIntyre said. “And we are glad to be back to it.”