WEST ALLIS, Wis. (CBS 58) – Connie Claus shares the last name with Santa, and somehow, she’s fulfilling her wishes.
As a volunteer at Father Jane’s Help Center in West Alice, she picks clothes for people who need them. She puts a lot of effort into picking out pieces that people will be proud to wear.
Connie Close pushes the cart through the clothes racks.
“I look forward to coming, because every day is a new adventure,” Klaus said.
And yes – it makes a list and double-checks it.
“I understand,” she said with a laugh. “I live up to my name!”
Klaus has been a volunteer at Father Jane for five years.
“I try to put myself in their position,” she explained of her thinking.
Four days a week, six hours a day, her job is to collect orders that come to the free wardrobe. You have developed a distinct eye. While walking to a wall of purses, she demonstrates her style.
“Then I go through the purses, and I might find one she really likes,” she said of the client she’s shopping for.
“She pulls the clothes together,” CEO Jessica Loubering said. “Oh, I want this shirt to go with these pants and I put a piece of jewelry in a small Ziplock bag.”
Lubring said Klaus is an inspiring volunteer.
“She has this huge heart of giving and she is so kind and generous,” she said of Klaus.
For 50 years, the nonprofit has been providing clothing and working with more than 30 different agencies in the Milwaukee area.
“These are the people who are probably doing drug and alcohol abuse recovery programs, mental health stabilization programs,” Loubering said. “People who support people who have been left homeless or have recently immigrated to the United States.”
Their job, Luebbering says, is to provide dignity through clothing — the idea being that if you look good, you feel good.
“When I woke up today, I decided this was what I needed to wear to be the best version of myself today,” Lobring said of her outfit.
Customers can also come to their storefront and shop for themselves.
“When they are able to look at our shelves and choose items that match the colors, patterns, and patterns that define them, they are better able to feel that dignity,” Luebbering said.
They are able to choose shirts, pants and even accessories.
Klaus focuses on dignity, too.
“You can’t judge. You can’t judge,” she said. “Because you don’t know what their situation was at the time.”
Every list you pick up is an opportunity to make someone happy.
“Having that last name that I have, you thought you could make everybody’s dream come true, but you can’t,” she said.
Father Jane always accepts donations, and at the moment, with the cold weather, they need warm coats and shoes.
However, they don’t always have what people ask for.
Claus tries to get too close.
“Everything falls into place over time,” Klaus said. “You have to learn the customer. If they keep coming back, you know that customer. Otherwise, they won’t come back.”
Once the bag is up and ready, you call them to let them know the clothes are ready for pickup.
Another complete request.
“Just that thoughtful care and attention,” Luebbering said. “When clients come to pick up their orders that were filled by Miss Connie, it’s as if you have to lift your knees because they’re so heavy. They are so abundant.” .
This is what makes her come back day in and day out.
“As long as the Lord says, ‘You’re here, do what you can,’ I’ll keep doing it,” Klaus said.
For more information about Father Jane you can visit www.fathergeneshelp.org.
If you would like to nominate an Everyday Hero, send a message to Natalie at NShepherd@cbs58.com.