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Community closet to open in Sullivan City

When Angie Bermea saw the devastation that Hurricane Hannah created last July in 

Sullivan City, she knew she had to do something.

RGV Dare 2 Care founders Armin Garza (left) and Juliana Garza (right) flanking Dare 2 Care Community Closet founder Angie Bermea (center) Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020. Courtesy photo.

“People had nothing and weren’t left with anything,” Bermea said of the storm that flooded many streets and homes and destroyed the roof of the city hall and police station.

“When you see someone going through a situation like that, it breaks your heart. These are your neighbors, people you know and it’s in my heart to help,” Bermea said.

In response to the hurricane, Bermea and some of her friends held a clothes distribution drive where people donated clothes to be given to families in need.

“We were able to service a lot of families but I wanted to do something for the community that we could do year-round,” Bermea said.  “That’s where the Community Closet came from.”

Last month, the city commission approved a community closet where people in need of clothes or toiletries could come in to receive them.

“The items would be donated for people in case of floods, fires, or domestic violence situations when women leave their homes and need something,” Bermea said, adding that the location she is opening the closet in at 464 W Expressway 83 is a location owned by her brother. “He’s letting me borrow the location for a year and I just have to pay for water and light.”

To mark the opening of the Community Closet, Bermea will be hosting a donation drive on Saturday, Oct. 10, where the public is invited to donate clean items to be distributed to people in need by the community closet.

The drive will be in partnership with the La Joya-based non-profit Dare 2 Care operated by La Joya school board member Armin Garza and his wife, Juliana.

“I regularly volunteer with the Dare 2 Care food program with them and told them about my closet and they offered to help me by partnering with me, Bermea said of the partnership. “We’ve been getting good responses on social media with tons of people willing to donate, I’m excited, it won’t just be for Sullivan City, it’ll be for the whole community.”

In a social media post on Juliana’s Facebook page, residents were urged to donate to the closet.

“We want to lessen the financial burden on parents when school begins and give children, young adults and adults alike the opportunity to dress for success in hope of obtaining more rewarding employment,” the post said. “The community of Sullivan City along with a number of caring individuals will spring into action calling around to local businesses and individuals who would like to join the Dare to Care family, a completely free service and is aimed to help families in need of assistance, foster children, children in need of school uniforms and adults needing business attire to job interviews”

Though the closet won’t open for the public until Oct. 10, Bermea said she has already received several items such as women and children’s clothing, books and toys.

Following the September city commission meeting where the community closet was approved, city secretary Veronica Gutierrez said she is appreciative of the closet.

“We are living in unprecedented times and we have encountered many challenges to make ends meet. I believe that this is a positive thing and I truly support this,” Gutierrez said. “I feel it’s a help to everyone who is needing it and can’t afford it at the moment. If they can find something as simple as clothing or canned food, it’s something that won’t cut into their tight budgets.”

Residents are urged to donate items to the community closet by contacting Bermea at 956-780-680.

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