Commack Shelter Houses Boutique Which Provides Clothing and Accessories to Women in Need Free of Charge

Pat Bartsch has had a longstanding family tradition of community service. She and her children continually support various local programs and Ms. Bartsch previously worked for The Salvation Army. When she saw an overflow of clothes at her Nesconset boutique store, Mimi’s Closet, Ms. Bartsch had an idea. So she contacted her local representative, Suffolk County Legislator Leslie Kennedy.

Community Housing Innovations and Mimi's Closet

Suffolk County Legislator Leslie Kennedy (right) poses with CHI Emergency Housing Manager Christine Boudreau (left), at the Mimi’s Closet Boutique located at CHI’s Commack shelter in Hauppauge.

“I visited her store in Nesconset and she told me what she wanted to do,” Legislator Kennedy said of Ms. Bartsch. “I helped her make a connection and, through that process, they worked on creating Mimi’s Closet [at Community Housing Innovations (CHI) shelter] in Commack.”

CHI welcomed the namesake Mimi’s Closet boutique at its shelter in Commack. Mimi’s Closet is open once a month and provides CHI clients with formal and casual clothing, footwear, handbags and other accessories for women, and children when available, free of charge.

“Our mission is to make sure our clients have the clothing they need, whether it’s for job interviews, events or just for daily living,” said Christine Boudreau, CHI’s Emergency Housing Manager. “Our clients don’t come with a lot, so we open the boutique to them in an effort to supply them with what they need.”

Many clients said they are glad that they could find suits to wear for job interviews, in hopes of securing employment and earning enough income to move into permanent housing. Kim, who has lived at the shelter for a year, says her family has acquired suits from the boutique for job interviews. “They really have a lot of nice things for everybody here,” she said. “I found suits for my kids, too. This really helps us a lot. They really come through for us.”

“It’s good to know that these clothes are going to people who need it without having to pay for them,” Ms. Bartsch added. “These are very nice clothes and we didn’t want to just place them in plastic bags.”

Ms. Boudreau said that Mimi’s Closet accepts donations but asked that those who wish to donate to call ahead first. “I would like to see Mimi’s Closet to go viral,” Ms. Bartsch said. “I want the word to get out. I started helping others 30 years ago, during my time with the Salvation Army. I founded Mimi’s Closet a year ago and, now, with the boutique here, everything is coming full circle.”

Community Housing Innovations, Inc. provides affordable housing, apartments and homeownership grants, serving communities in Westchester County, Hudson Valley and Long Island. For more information, visit www.chigrants.org.