OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — A new organization in Omaha is supporting the LGBTQ community by offering a community closet to the transgender community.
Trans Stitchin’, located at 7701 Pacific Street was founded in mid-July by co-founders Grady Schmitt and Maddie Bal. Their goal is to provide a safe space where individuals who are transgender can go and get clothing for free.
“We’ve talked about the lack of resources for the LGBTQ community, especially the trans community here, so we’ve kind of had this idea for a while but what really got this off the ground was that we were looking for places that donations would go to the trans community, like clothes donations,” said Schmitt. “We reached out to therapists who work with the trans community that might have an idea of where we might be able to donate, and there really wasn’t a place for us to do that so we thought, why don’t we create that place.”
Schmitt adds that for someone who may be transitioning genders, shopping for clothes can be uncomfortable or intimidating and costly.
“The biggest thing is that when someone starts to transition, frequently you’re going to change your wardrobe and that gets very expensive. The trans community is disproportionately affected by homelessness and poverty,” says Schmitt. “Funds are usually lower in that regard so when you have to make this financial jump into changing your wardrobe, that can be tough.”
The co-founders say they have received tons of clothing and accessory donations from the community, which is why anyone who shops there, can take as many items for free.
“The response has been amazing and just overwhelming,” says Bal.
With social distancing in mind, donation and shopping hours are limited. Currently, the closet is open for shopping on Saturdays from 10AM - 1PM. Donations can be accepted at that time.
“People can reach out to us by phone if the regularly scheduled hours don’t work for them. They can reach out to us and we can set up an appointment and we can also pick up if that’s necessary,” says Schmitt.
Bal and Schmitt hope the clothing pantry will open the door for more opportunities to support those who are transitioning move forward. Their next step is to officially become a nonprofit.
“We hope to create a much larger nonprofit that would provide services for name change paperwork, a crisis center, therapists, kind of like a full community for trans folks,” says Bal.
“One we do that we can take monetary donations so we can help people with binders, wigs, with a lot of things that people wouldn’t have laying in their closet but are super necessary for the trans community and not as easily accessible,” added Schmitt.
CLOTHING CLOSET HOURS:
Saturday: 10AM - 1PM or by appointment
7701 Pacific St. Suite 208, Omaha, NE 68114