Antioch Traveling Closet helps community members in need

Lisa Fisher, the founder of Antioch Traveling Closet, has an inspiring story on the creation of her organization and continues to help others.

In 2014, a local Antioch, Ill. resident, Lisa Fisher, heard through a colleague of a young girl who was not getting proper care at home. Without anything in return, Fisher began to buy two of everything, one for her daughter and one for this young girl. When her little friend had moved away, Fisher had a far-fetched thought. 

“If I can do it for one,” Fisher said, “why can’t I do it for more?”

The Antioch Traveling Closet collects clothing of all sizes to donate to those in need. (Bella Bussone)

This question sparked a beautiful non-profit organization, now known as the Antioch Traveling Closet. The group takes passed-down, new and gently worn clothing donated by good samaritans in the area and gives it to the less fortunate. The Antioch Traveling Closet holds three giveaways a year, where anyone can come and get not just clothing but toiletries, cleaning supplies and children’s books without paying a penny. Along with these gracious things, hairstylists donate their time to give free haircuts to those that view it as a luxury. 

“Our busiest time of year is our back-to-school giveaway in August; we get probably around 400 people,” Fisher said. “I like the kids to start school with brand new haircuts and brand new backpacks because it makes them feel good.”

It can be difficult for one as a middle schooler to feel out of place with peers. It is a sensitive time in a child’s life, and Fisher wishes to offset that insecurity as much as possible. The next giveaway is Dec. 12, 2021, at the senior center in town.

Children’s clothing makes up a large percentage of donated goods. (Bella Bussone)

“The ATC’s main purpose is to help our community,” Fisher said. “As we have been doing this, you realize how something like a toothbrush to one person is a necessity that others cannot afford, and that is what we like to do; help ease the burden.”

Though it may skip many minds as people forget how fortunate they are, Fisher, with her group of volunteers, takes it upon themselves to make sure as many people in Antioch are taken care of as possible. Fisher’s daughter, Jasmine Fisher, is currently a sophomore at Antioch. J. Fisher tries to help out as much as she can in regards to the ATC. 

“At first, I thought it was weird because we had no garage space, but I knew it was for a good cause.” J. Fisher said. “It is really nice what she is doing; she is a great role model.”

The Antioch Traveling Closet takes advantage of basement space at the senior center in Antioch to sort through and store donated goods. (Bella Bussone)

Beyond this, considering their size, the organization does not get grants but works through fundraisers. The ATC operates through monetary, clothing and toiletry donations. Currently, they work out of the senior center in Antioch – a convenience, but they are bursting at the seams. L. Fisher hopes her team can one day have their own building. 

To help out, many high-schoolers choose to donate their time. 

“I have been [helping] the ATC since I was in eighth grade,” senior Jacob Moisa said. “Being able to help people out in our community that are not as fortunate as some of us clothing wise or even just struggling in life is a great thing.”

Fisher and her organization have touched the lives of so many right here in Antioch and continue to do so.

“We are always grateful for new volunteers and would love to see more people coming and helping,” L. Fisher said.

To learn more about ATC or make a donation, visit their website at antiochtravelingcloset.org. If you are interested to volunteer for ATC, please visit their Facebook page.

Students around ACHS can often be seen wearing ATC t-shirts. (Bella Bussone)