Monday, July 10, 2017

Save the date for the next Clothing Exchange

The next Clothing Exchange is scheduled for August 26th, 2017 from 9 until 12 at First Baptist Church at 9th and Trinity in Austin, Texas. See older posts for more info or on
Facebook under Clothing Exchange event.

Clothing Exchange and Clothing Donation Information

A Clothing Exchange is taking good quality clothes that you no longer need and trading them for clothes that you do need. The other purpose for the event will be to collect donated clothes and give clothes to foster families.

When? Saturday August 26th, 2017 from 9am-noon

Where? First Baptist Church – 9th and Trinity

Why? The Back Story
I have served in The Junior League of Austin's Resale Shop from 2004-2009. I was always impressed with the range of things that the shop did for the community in addition to selling great stuff to the community like giving small toys to the Hands of Luke, giving items that did not meet the criteria of the shop to the Salvation Army, and my favorite – we gave foster children a $25 credit monthly for clothing. The Resale Shop closed in June 2009 the credit was no longer available to foster families.

A family at our church that has foster children used the shop for clothing monthly. When I heard that there would be a job loss in the summer of 2009 in that family I felt God leading me to do something not only for the one family in our church but, for others like them that don’t need the extra strain of having to buy clothes for the children that they are already providing so much else for.

When you have children you are overwhelmed with their clothing – what currently fits and then the large amount that they outgrow. It is a continual process of shuffling clothing in and out of drawers and I always have boxes of clothes in my girl’s closet ready for donation, garage sale, or swapping. I felt like others may have more than they need also and could donate them to us.

This Clothing Exchange would be for anyone that has children but, the main focus would be on foster children and their families. The full list of rules for the exchange are below. The main rule if you are not a foster family are bring items to swap and take items home with you that meet your current needs. The main rule if you are a foster family is take what you need for the fall/winter season and if there is more left at the end of the exchange you can get more.

Clothing Donations:
Do you have a bunch of clothes to donate and are not interested in swapping them? Great! We need lots of clothes for the foster families. Email for drop-off/pick-up info. Items can also be dropped off at First Baptist Church at 9th and Trinity.

Channel 8 covered the Clothing Exchange for their back to school coverage.

All additional sponsorship donations will be used to buy socks and underwear for the foster children. If you are interested in sponsoring the event please contact

Media Contacts:
Are you in the media and can help me publicize this event? Fantastic! Please email me at

Want to volunteer? Of course you can! We would love the help! We will need help overseeing the exchange and welcoming people to FBC. Please contact

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thank You for another successful Clothing Exchange

What a great day the clothing exchange was.  We had 39 families participate including volunteers which equaled 127 people overall.  19 were foster children.  We encouraged folks to take more than just one bag this year so we started with more clothing than previous years but, ended with a little less.  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Clothes Kids with Love

Written by DeNae Brassard Lee for the First Austin - Clarion

FBC Member Belynda Montgomery
        and her daughters         

Belynda Montgomery Clothes Kids with Love

Juggling the demands of children, home, work, and volunteer opportunities is a difficult task for anyone…just ask “supermom” Belynda Montgomery. 

A longtime member of First Baptist Church of Austin, Belynda says finding the energy to help others comes from her burning passion “to be where God wants her to be.” 

From her missions work with Mobile Loaves and Fishes, to teaching Sunday School, to organizing a clothing exchange for foster children, Belynda says she is blessed to have the opportunity to serve others.

First Baptist Church of Austin Senior Pastor Dr. Roger Paynter said “Belynda brings an extraordinary combination of energy and compassion to everything she does. Add to that her great follow-through and you have a person who tackles challenges with sensitivity and never leaves something undone. It's pretty amazing to watch her at work.”
On Saturday, August 24th from 9 am until noon at First Austin, Belynda will head up an annual Clothing Exchange which benefits anyone that has children. Themain focus of the event, she says is foster children and their families.
Belynda became interested in assisting foster families after volunteering at The Junior League of Austin’s Resale Shop from 2004 to 2009. She said she was impressed with how the organization assisted foster families who support the community’s must vulnerable children.  “We would provide a $25 a month credit for foster children,” Belynda said. Unfortunately the resale shop closed in June 2009. 

About the same time, she heard that a foster family from her church who had also utilized the shop’s services was facing a job loss. “I felt God leading me to do something not only for the family in my church, but for others like them that don’t need the extra strain of having to buy clothes for the children they are already providing so much else for,” Belynda said.

With more than 30,000 kids in the foster care system in Texas according to Kid Count Data Center, Belynda has worked to make a difference and has headed up clothing exchange events once or twice a year at First Austin since 2009.  “I am called to do this work and am grateful everyday for having the opportunity to serve,” she said.

At the last exchange, clothing was distributed to more than 150 families. “We mostly have families of young children attending. Some are foster families, but not all.” She hopes to spread the word to more foster families so that they may be able to utilize the assistance.
Equally important to Belynda is teaching her own daughters to serve others.  Her children have been recruited to help their mother at the upcoming clothing exchange. “My kids have a minor in volunteering,” she said with a laugh. 

Belynda’s kids have learned much of that spirit of volunteerism from being a member at First Austin.  “Our church is a place that helps lots of people and meets them where they are,” she said.  “Because of that influence, it is easy for them to see a need and fill it as if it were second nature. We are blessed with everything we have and being able to give is a gift.” 

First Austin is thankful for and celebrates Belynda and her tireless service of others.
Volunteer at the event
Volunteers are needed Wednesday, August 21 from 9 am to noon to sort clothes, then again on Friday, August 23rd at 9 am to finish sorting and set the tables for the event, and finally on Saturday, August 24th, the day of the event, from 7:30 am to 1:30 pm for set-up, registration, shopper assistance, clean -up, and then taking clothes to another local charity. Please contact Belynda if you can assist on any of those days. 

Make a donation
Having enough clothing is key to the clothing exchange success. Clothing donations may be placed in the third floor closet next to the Awakenings classroom.  If you can help by donating money, $5 gift cards will be given to each foster child who attends the event.  The foster children will be able to use the gift cards to purchase socks or underwear. Please leave cash donations for gift cards in the front church office and call ahead at 512-476-2625 to arrange a time to deliver any clothing.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Clothing Exchange Rules

1.  The Clothing Exchange is open to everyone.

2. All items taken to a swap must be in clean and good condition. If an item is in need of minor repair it should be indicated with a note attached to the item.

3.  What to bring: Please only bring things that you are comfortable giving to a close friend, not the ratty stuff we all have & have been meaning to part with.. Shoes, belts, bags, hats, coats, accessories and wearable other things all fair game!

4.  Whatever is left behind at the end of the night & not claimed will be donated to Mobile loaves and Fishes(i.e. you won’t get your goods back, be prepared to part with them!)

5.  Please bring bags (paper, cloth, etc). You’ll need them for your new goods.

6.  Once something is in someone’s bag, it is theirs. You can bargain and trade of course, but poaching not

7.  Please be respectful of each other. We all come in shapes & sizes and that’s what makes clotheswaps work and it’s what makes them fun!

8.  Remember, we all arrived in clothes. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and reach into someone else’s pile/bag, but it’s easy to misplace what you came in! please be mindful of this (& refer back to #5)

9.  It would be helpful if you can bring your items in a way that makes it easy to for others to identify and use – small items or jewelry should be in small baggies, anything in a pair (including shoes) should be attached together or put into a clear plastic bag to be kept together if you can not tie them together by other means. If the size is not easily seen – attach a note with the size and fit of the item.

10.   In some cases there may be a call for items which are damaged but can be pulled apart for re-use of the fabric or components – or in some cases accepted damaged with the receiver responsible for repairs. All such items must be clearly identified and separate from swap items which are in good condition.

11.  Bring more than you plan to take back at a swap – this will ensure that there is a good selection and left over items to be donated to charity. Also – bring the quality of item you would like to receive and be fair – do not come to the swap with a few t-shirts and walk away with multiple high-end or designer items… bring your good stuff if you want to get good stuff from others. Don’t be greedy.

12.  There are no guarantees, stated or implied, that anyone will receive anything at a swap in exchange for the items they bring. There is no guarantee that you will find something you like and want to take in exchange for what you brought.

13.  Come to the swap prepared and properly dressed – wear something you can easily keep on to try items on top of. There will most likely be no dressing room’s or private areas at a swap to try-on the items. If you wear something to adequately cover you – and you are not shy – you may try on items in front of the other swappers.

14.  There may not be any mirrors available at a swap event either – so ask others how the fit looks / how the item looks on you – maybe bring a friend you trust to help you with this. Have them snap a quick photo with a cellphone so you can look at the item on you right away.

15.  Bathrooms at a swap are not dressing rooms. They are to be kept free for regular bathroom use. No one should take up a bathroom for too long. Be contentious of others.

16.  There is no guarantee that you will receive any item at a swap. If you see an item you like but someone else picks it up first – you have no claim to it. If two or more people see and go for an item at the same time – they should be courteous and work it out between each-other in a fair and polite manner. If there is a dispute over any item – that item may be taken by swap organizers or helpers, confiscated and set aside to be donated to charity instead. No one has claim to or can expect to receive any item at a swap.

17.   No one should be grabbing or hoarding items, be rude or cut off people and rush to collect as many items as possible before others have a chance to go through them. The object of a swap is not to get as much as you can of the best that is available. Instead people should be courteous and conscientious of others, fair and just have fun. If you don’t get something you want – let it go. The end result should be to clean out your closets and let go --- not to pack them with even more than you had to begin with. Bring what you don’t use or wear, and bring back a nice piece or two that you will enjoy and use.

18.  HAVE FUN. Tell your friends about the swap and spread the word – the more people who know about the event and can participate, the better it is for everyone.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Thank you Austin for all of the bountiful clothing contributions for the Clothing Exchange and making the event successful yesterday! We had plenty of clothes in every size and lots left over for Mobile Loaves and Fishes and Oak Springs Elementary as they change to a uniform.

We had 5 scheduled volunteers and 2 that just decided to show up and help, we had 115 people participate in the exchange, and 35 total families participate many of which were foster families.

God is good and it is clearer to me what that is all about when I end an event like todays and feel joyful and energized from the experience. Thank you again to you all!

Friday, July 10, 2009


It has been a difficult day. We put one of our dogs down. His name was Barkley and he was a great dog. He had a variety of problems the least of which was arthritis in his knees and hips that was so painful at times that he could not walk. With the help of pain meds he was able to live comfortably for a few more weeks but, we could not justify his pain any longer. My husband had the awful task of taking him today. I am sure that was no fun. He cried most of the day. I got the task of explaning it to the girls. They took it well. No tears shed yet. The one hit the hardest about the whole thing will be his adopted brother Beau. He keeps walking around looking for him and sitting really close to us.

It is funny how I strive to make people and animals around me better - despite the pain and frustration down the long road to recovery through rehab. I felt like I should do that with Barkley initially but, thankfully did not have to wait for God to take him.

I have never put a dog down before. You feel like you lost a member of the family. I am glad to know that he is running that silly run of his in heaven with all the food he can stand forever.

Bye, Bye Barkley. I will love you forever.