Ministry combs Hill Country for clothing, household donations

Martha's Ministry of New Life Church assembles donations for the needy at at 404 East Marble Street in Burnet and accepts others from callers at 512- 627-0680.

By Christi Bertelson

Highland Lakes Newspapers

Brother Doug Fowler and wife Barbara were heavy hearted when they learned that some children in Burnet County were going to endure winter of 2009 with no jackets or warm clothing.

“When they found out, Doug asked the church (New Life Church), family and friends to donate what they could to help these children,” said Jenny Parker, a volunteer for the Ministry.

After donating, Doug knew there was a sense of importance that they needed to continue to help the community in any way they could.

‘Martha’s Clothing Ministry’ came to life with just a few things the church, family and friends could gather.

“The Ministry started with just a few tables made from saw horses, little stacks of clothes and one table of jackets,” said Parker.

Doug named the Clothing Ministry after ‘Martha of Bethany’ from the Bible, who was known for her concern for others.

“Martha was about serving the lord, and so is Doug, that is why he named it Martha’s Clothing Ministry,” said Parker.

The plan for the ministry was to help relieve some of the burden Burnet County residents may face when providing for their families.

“We are a clothing ministry but we carry furniture and household items as well,” said Parker.

Jump forward to 2016, Martha’s Clothing Ministry has become a diamond in the rough, with the Fowler family at the forefront and eight volunteers ready at their side to help residents of the county any way they can.

“We travel to Georgetown, Cedar Park, Liberty Hill, Marble Falls, Kingsland, Burnet, to many places to name,” said Parker.

Fowler and his team while traveling, Friday’s and Saturday’s each week, locate garage sales and other places where they hand out the card for Martha’s Clothing Ministry and explain what their mission is about.

“We explain who we are, what we do, and offer to pick up anything they have left they'd like to donate,” said Parker.

“If they agree to donate any unwanted items, we come back when they request us to, pack everything up and load it to take it back to the Clothing ministry in Burnet,”

Doug and his volunteers then work sometimes 60 hours a week, sorting through, cleaning, arranging and organizing the items at Martha’s.

“All clothing, shoes is organized by size and gender, and costs a dollar,” said Parker.

“The furniture that is donated, we accept donations for,”

“And everything is volunteer work, no one gets paid to do this,” said Parker.

“That's why God put us here to love, and help one another,”

While supplying what families might need in the area, Martha’s puts out as many as 400 new items per week.

“In preparation for school this past week we put probably upward of 4,000 items with no holes or stains on anything,” said Parker.

Housed in a metal building at 404 East Marble in Burnet, the volunteers have faced some trying times during the summer months.

“There is no heat or A/C in the building so our open hours are Saturday from 7 a.m. to noon,” said Parker. “But if someone would like to set up a private appointment or come at another time, we are more than happy to meet them when it is convenient for them, just give us a call.”

Parker continued to say that volunteering and working with Doug has been a great addition to her life.

Doug said the reason he does this for the Burnet community is because of the love for people him, his family and the New Life Church members have.

"I would like to thank the community for the donated buildings, and support, without that we would not be where we are today,” said Doug.

“We are here to meet and support the people of our community and we get to do that through the ministry,”

“It has been a tremendous blessing what God has allowed to come our way.”

For more information, call about the ministry or making donations, call 512- 627-0680.

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