Shelf full of t-shirts, pants, and sweatshirtsIf you’ve ever had to wear a hospital gown, you know they aren’t usually the most modest or stylish of outfits. It’s one thing to wear one while being treated, but you’d probably be cold or embarrassed to wear a gown outside the hospital.

That’s exactly how Providence Everett’s “ED Clothes Closet” came to be. Emergency Department caregivers wanted a way to help patients after their clothing had been damaged from the illness or accident that landed them in the Emergency Department.

“They were struggling to send people home in real clothes, instead of the gowns,” said Wendy Turner, Manager of Volunteer Services.

Volunteer Services now oversees the closet, keeping it well stocked with all sizes of sweats, shirts, undergarments and socks. What began as just a few items collected by the ED staff has grown to an organized program that gives out 150 to 200 articles of clothing each month to patients being discharged from the ED.

The closet is funded through donations to the Providence General Foundation, as well as an annual employee drive each fall. The majority of the clothes are purchased new, and supplemented with some gently used items collected during the annual drive.

The clothes tend to be soft and loose so they can be stretched over a cast or bandage and are gentle on a healing body and spirit. It’s a tangible way caregivers and donors can ease the way of a patient, so they experience compassion, comfort and dignity as they leave our hospital.

 “It helps them get through some of the toughest times they’ve had to endure,” says Wendy.