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Nonprofit struggles to make rent amid record demand

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Posted at 4:36 PM, Oct 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-28 20:16:51-04

SAN DIEGO — A College Area nonprofit that is seeing record requests for its services may not survive the pandemic itself.

Sharia's Closet provides free clothes to people who have an emergency need. Founder Shamine Linton said with the Coronavirus pandemic, the organization has already served more than 2,500 families in 2020, a record pace.

"Due to unemployment, homelessness and domestic violence, our needs have grown," Linton said.

Sharia's Closet, named for Linton's daughter, operates out of a former dental office near San Diego State University. It's divided into five rooms that are filled with clothes for children, teens, men and women - casual to professional. Linton said the organization gets connected to families through 54 social service organizations. While the demand is at an all-time high, the prospects of surviving past 2020 are not.

"I don't think I'll have the money to continue for the next year," Linton said.

Linton said the organization survives off community donations, but those have lagged in this economy. She has reduced hours for her staff of two, and the closet is now only open three days a week. The formerly manageable $2,500 in monthly operating costs is now becoming daunting.

"I'm hoping for financial donations to help keep our doors open, to help keep the service for the community that needs it the most," Linton said.

Linton said Sharia's Closet has been able to receive public assistance for personal protective equipment, but not operations. She is planning a fundraiser in mid November.