Closet of Compassion

Down a hallway at Catholic Charities resides a small closet of great importance.

This closet has brought a new world to the people who visit.

It is a world that takes them into a new dimension of hope, joy, love, compassion and satisfaction.

This closet is Matthew’s Closet.

Matthew’s Closet is an organization entirely run by Bishop Gorman High School students and staff. It is dedicated to helping the homeless of Las Vegas by providing them with clothing, toiletries, shoes, bags and anything else they need.

Every Thursday at 1 p.m., Nannette Sullivan and Kimberly Martinez from Bishop Gorman’s Campus Ministry, along with student volunteers, take the goods that have been donated out of storage and prepare to give them all away.

“I cherish what I am doing with Matthew’s Closet,” Sullivan says. “These people are just people in difficult circumstances. But everyone is equal, and everyone deserves to have plenty.”

Bishop Gorman alumni Ryan Hall, Andrew Kano and Caitlyn Barry, along with Karen Cutler and Brother Corey Brost, started Matthew’s Closet in 1995. Ever since, Matthew’s Closet has served homeless people with the donations given from churches and schools throughout the Las Vegas Valley.

Matthew’s Closet also does seasonal drives to collect donations.

Every Lent, Bishop Gorman students contribute certain items each week. One week, the students donate socks. The next week, the students donate underwear.

Also, every year Republic Services gives Matthew’s Closet $3,000; half is donated by the employees of Republic Services, the other half is matched by the company.

Even with these donations, however, Matthew’s Closet finds its shelves almost empty. More donations are needed to keep up with the needs of people who visit the closet.

Every Thursday, more than 150 homeless people walk through the doors of Matthew’s Closet, located in Catholic Charities at 1501 Las Vegas Blvd. North. Some of the people are regulars who come every week, and some are families who are in a transition and are just trying to survive.

“They (the volunteers) make me feel perfect,” says a man who visits Matthew’s Closet regularly. “I come here and get whatever I don’t have. They always have everything I need.”

Since its creation, hundreds of Gorman students have carried the torch of service handed down to them from previous generations. These students help the homeless people find the sizes they need in shoes, pants and shirts. They also give out a brand new pair of underwear and socks to each person.

“I came to do my service hours,” junior Kelsey Agnon says. “But the reactions I get are really cool. It makes me feel good, so I keep coming back.”

“It’s a very humbling experience to help people who don’t have very much,” senior Ashley Clark says. “You can feel how grateful they are when you help them find a simple pair of shoes.”

If you would like to volunteer at Matthew’s Closet or donate to the organization, contact Bishop Gorman’s Campus Ministry at 732-1945, Ext 348.

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