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By B. Scott Mohr
Robin Grove won’t be around for the opening of a clothing pantry named after her, but she will be there in spirit.
Robin’s Closet, which will be housed in the basement of Mount Zion General Baptist Church, is the brainchild of Grove, who died March 21 at the age of 50 after a yearlong bout with cancer.
Shortly before learning that her days were numbered, she shared her dream of opening the pantry.
Members of her church graciously embraced Grove’s desire to launch the clothing mission. Much like they did last year when Debbie Reynolds, Bill Crosley and Jack Imel wanted to start a food pantry, which now serves about 40 people monthly.
Grove’s inspiration for Robin’s Closet stemmed from reading Matthew 25:35-40, which partially reads: “Naked, and ye clothed me: ... When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
Grove’s push to get the pantry open was fervent until the end. “I want to get it open, but I don’t know if I can do it,” she told Darolina “Dara” DeBurger, a dear friend of Grove’s mother, Shirley Roland.
“I told Robin that no matter what happens, it is going to open,” DeBurger said. “We might make a few mistakes, but it will be fabulous. This is your legacy.”
And true to her words, DeBurger is seeing Grove’s dream to fruition. “We are getting there. The room has been painted; the carpeting has been laid; the shelves have been installed; and we have newly made clothing racks. We just don’t have a definite opening date, but it will be soon. We have some great volunteers; Penny and Birt McGowan, April Stephens, Wayne Cogsdill and my husband, Mike, have been wonderful.
“We have already received many donations. Clothing is being dropped off at the church and even at my front door. We haven’t been through everything, but I have seen some nice stuff. We will be a good resource for people who have been burned out of their homes. And if someone needs a nice outfit to wear to an interview but can’t afford one, they can call me at 317-625-6648 to see if we have anything suitable.”
Coats, shoes, purses, gently used clothing, hangars and new underwear and socks can be dropped off at the church, 3565 S. Keystone Ave., but donors should call DeBurger to arrange appointments.
Some of Grove’s clothes – eight bags and counting – have been donated to the cause by her daughter, Krista Robert, who attends IUPUI and works part time at Chase Bank.
“Krista has really taken an active role in the clothing pantry,” said Roland, her grandmother. “She is going through all of her mom’s clothes.”
Grove also left behind two sons, Dillon Grove and Brandon Robert. The children, whose father, Randy Robert, died three years ago, are living with Roland.
Roland, who sells dog harnesses and collars, some plus size clothes and baseball caps at the Emporium Beech Grove to make a little money to help pay the bills, said she is really excited about the pantry.
Robin Hollis, who owns the shop, has donated booth space so that people affiliated with the pantry can sell clothing to benefit Robin’s Closet. “We will use that money to buy new underwear and socks,” boasted DeBurger.
“The response to Robin’s Closet has been terrific, and I’m glad to be a part of it,” Roland said. “It’s a fitting tribute to a woman who was a beautiful person inside and out.”