Every day, a huge pile of plastic bags filled with donated
clothing stacks up at the Interfaith Works Clothing
Center, which is located in a recently renovated former
school in Rockville. Despite the abundance, the demand for
clothes by our county’s needy is so great “we’re running out
of clothing,” says center director Monica Barberis-Young.
The 45-year-old charity clothes some 13,000 income-qualified residents each year, including nearly 6,000
Montgomery County children.
Volunteers sort and hang clothes throughout the day.
Just as rapidly, clients arrive and are given blue Ikea bags
that they may fill once a month. “What comes in our back
door goes quickly out our front door,” Barberis-Young says.
“But please give us things you would wear yourself or give
to a neighbor. We don’t have time to throw away other
There’s a new section, set off in a blond-wood boutique,
called Dress to Impress. This is higher-end clothing,
The center also accepts donations of dishes, silverware,
blankets, linens, school supplies, cleaning supplies,
“Our immigrant population is struggling and scared,”
says Barberis-Young, noting that Interfaith Works Clothing
Center experienced a drop of 500 clients immediately after
President Donald Trump’s inauguration. “We had to make
a special point of saying this is a safe zone,” and then the
clients returned, she says. “We have nothing to do with the
An immigrant from Ethiopia has shown the power of
one volunteer. Now in college, this 17-year-old has been
organizing the filling and distribution of 3,000 backpacks
each August. “He was helped when his family arrived five
years ago,” Barberis-Young says, “and now he runs this
inside a nonprofit