renae clothes

I Care About: Clothing the Community

While choosing what to wear each day may seem like a trivial decision, even a nuisance for some, it can be a daily struggle for those who don’t have the luxury of choice or access.

Standing in her closet trying to decide what to wear to work one morning, Chesapeake Payment Systems Merchant Sales Specialist Renae Williams had an epiphany. “I’m wondering what I’m going to wear to work, and some don’t even have a choice,” she said.

She knew she had to do something.

Renae immediately got involved, organizing clothing drives and volunteering at the Laurel Shelter, a nearby nonprofit women’s shelter serving victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. In hopes of increasing donations and maximizing impact, she instituted multiple clothing donation drop-offs, including several Chesapeake Bank locations.

Back in November of 2016, Renae was holding a special drive for women’s clothing, including gently-used business casual attire like blouses, slacks, sweaters, skirts, and suits. All sizes are welcome and much appreciated. Please also consider donating new undergarments and new or gently used plus-size women’s clothing, which are especially needed, at Chesapeake Bank locations in Gloucester, Hayes, Mathews, and Westhampton.

Since 1997, the Laurel Shelter has been providing shelter, resources and advocacy services across Gloucester, King and Queen, King William, Matthews, Middlesex counties and beyond. Clothing collected through Renae’s efforts are donated to the shelter’s thrift store which was started in 2003 as a way to respond to the outpouring of donations to the program.

Through her continued volunteer efforts for the Laurel Shelter, Renae empowers her community to positively impact the lives of domestic violence and sexual assault victims.

“If we can help make this one part of their day easier, then we should be doing all we can to make that happen. To me, it’s as simple as that,” said Renae.

Visit the Laurel Shelter’s website to see what’s on the top of their Wish List, like new undergarments and plus-sized clothing. We hope you’ll consider helping Renae in her mission to help women in need.


Laurel Shelter recently merged with the Avalon Center in Williamsburg. Visit the Avalon Center's website for details.