Linda Lannan, Project Manager of The Clothing Center at Minnie’s Maison, is the recipient of a 2023 Nation of Neighbors℠ empowerment award and a $10,000 grant.
In 2009, Linda experienced a health issue that forced her to retire early from her position as Vice President of a multinational investment band and financial services company. After receiving advice from her physician to only take on small things, Linda responded to an advertisement to volunteer one hour per week at The Clothing Center at Minnie’s Maison.
“I was immediately drawn to the mission,” recalled Linda. “The building needed a lot of repair, but it was filled with good-hearted people who were determined to keep it open.” After a ceiling collapsed and a building inspection was performed, it was deemed unsafe.
“By the graces of God, Sacred Heart Cathedral Foundation had a little home at 1119 Leclaire Street,” shared Linda. “The foundation was willing to let us use it, and the community rallied to create a safe space that was dignified and welcoming.”
The Clothing Center at Minnie’s Maison is a 501(c)3 corporation run entirely by volunteers to provide free clothing to anyone in need – from immigrants and refugees arriving with only the clothes on their backs to many experiencing poverty and homelessness. There are no income-based restrictions, and customers are welcome to shop twice per month.
Linda serves alongside 30 core volunteers and many seasonal helpers. “I am most proud of the strength and kindness of our volunteers,” said Linda. “Every volunteer has personal tragedies and challenges they face, and they still give so graciously.”
The organization frequently responds to emergency clothing requests for children placed into foster care, local students, and families with immediate needs. The Clothing Center will use the Nation of Neighbors grant to magnify the support and assistance provided for these emergency requests.
Over 80% of our shoppers are women,” said Linda. “Mothers feel so much relief when they don’t have to worry about having proper clothing for their children. They feel empowered and experience peace of mind while shopping.”