There are those people in the world who have the ability – a gift, if you will – to touch people’s lives even after they have shed this mortal coil. Peggy Richardson was one of those people. Just ask Jackie Bozeman.
Bozeman was a student of Richardson’s in a Wednesday night Bible study class. It was the elder Richardson who built up the younger Bozeman’s self-confidence and self-esteem through her teachings, her guidance and her spirit. And it was Richardson who has inspired Bozeman to create Ms. Peggy’s Porch in Howe.
“I realized who I was,” said Bozeman, “and the next question was, ‘What do I want to do?’”
The answer was Ms. Peggy’s Porch, a community clothes closet where families in need of gently used clothing can obtain these much-needed items absolutely free of charge. Clothes, shoes and accessories are available in all sizes for men, women, teens and children. Located behind Howe City Hall, Ms. Peggy’s Porch is open every second and fourth Saturday morning of each month from 9-11 a.m. The shop is run completely by volunteers and stocked with donated clothing.
Ms. Peggy’s Porch was created in honor and in memory of Richardson, who passed away in January. Described by those who knew her as “an exceedingly generous and kind woman [a] faithful servant, a steadfast prayer warrior, an extraordinary student of God’s word,” Richardson was well known throughout the community. At the celebration event held in her honor after her passing, tales of letters she routinely sent to those she knew and cared about filled the room and warmed the hearts.
It was in that spirit that the shop was formed. The community clothes closet is the God-inspired vision of Bozeman and others who served for a number of years with Solomon’s Porch, a ministry to the homeless in Dallas. They were encouraged by the Solomon’s Porch pastors to take their time, talents, resources and donations to the local community of Howe and to Grayson County.
“They said small communities have needs, too, and they were right,” said Bozeman.
With the support and cooperation of the City of Howe, local churches and dedicated volunteers, Ms. Peggy’s Porch is bursting at the seams. As a result, numerous local families have been provided with like-new school clothes, warm coats, athletic wear and shoes.
According to Richardson’s daughter Mary Martha Stewart, her mother “extended God’s love, mercy and kindness to everyone she met while she was here on earth. That unconditional love lives on through this ministry, which touches the lives of others in real and tangible ways.”
Bozeman said that everyone who has come through the shop’s doors has left with clothing. She also stated that the donations have been pouring in.
“It’s just been incredible, the kindness and the generosity of the people,” said Bozeman. “It has been the most marvelous thing.”
If you would like to shop, donate gently used clothing, accessories or hangers or even volunteer to help (at the Porch or from your home) contact Jackie Bozeman at 903-771-6066 or Robin Speed at 903-818-3046. Personal “shopping” appointments or donation drop-offs outside of the regular hours can also be arranged by calling or texting Bozeman or Speed. To keep up with Ms. Peggy’s Porch’s activities, needs and outreach, “like” Peggy’s Porch on Facebook.
Ms. Peggy’s Porch is located directly behind City Hall at 116 E. Haning Street in Howe, easily accessible from the parking lot between E. Haning Street and E. Davis Street (across the street from the First Baptist Church).