The Lost Closet is a ministry dedicated to assisting women who’ve been released from prison by providing them with fashionable new and gently used clothing appropriate for successful re-emergence into society. In order for these women to fully celebrate their freedom and leave their old life behind, they must symbolically shed the prison scrubs they’ve worn during incarceration and clothe themselves with new garments.
We help each woman recognize her individual God-given beauty and raise the level of her self-esteem by providing her with at least one outfit suitable for interviews, work, and church. She is then able to step out into society without shame or self-consciousness about her appearance.
Our Founder's Story
In 1986 Linda Ann White Hrncir became a Christian and first began to really listen for God’s voice. Very early in her Christian experience, Linda heard God calling her to minister to women, and He has since guided her down many paths where she has had opportunities to grow her own faith and that of others as well. One of those opportunities came by way of the Halbert Substance Abuse Felony Punishment Facility in Burnet, Texas.
In early 2000 while studying God’s word, Linda became inspired by Matthew 25:36: “I was in prison and you visited me.” Soon after reading this verse, she began volunteering at the women’s section of the Burnet prison. Her talents were used to lead Bible study, worship and praise services, and choir practices, as well to solicit donations of toiletries and personal effects for inmates. As a result of her service to them, Linda developed close relationships with the women. Her open heart and her willingness to serve others for the cause of Christ enabled her to see them as sisters with real lives and real needs far beyond those of other women she’d worked with in the past.
This attitude, along with her keen ear for God’s voice, awakened in Linda a new awareness about her sisters in Christ. She began to realize that as many of them walked past the razor wire gates back into their communities after serving their time, they had nothing more on their backs than white, prison issue scrubs. Many of the inmates didn’t have clothes sent to them by family or friends. She wondered how they were expected to face job interviews, church, or other social situations.
Linda again turned to God’s word for inspiration, as she often does, and was led first to Isaiah 52:1-3: “Awake, loose the bonds; shake yourself from the dust and clothe yourself with beautiful garments for you have been redeemed without money.” Then, again, to Matthew 25:36: “I needed clothes, and you clothed me.”
Armed with a new vision, Linda approached the prison chaplain and asked what she could do. Together they came up with a form for inmates to fill out one month before their release requesting certain articles of clothing and specifying size. Next, she immediately began soliciting donations and taking orders. Out of this labor of love, Linda formed a new outreach ministry, the non-profit organization known as The Lost Closet.
The Lost Closet is dedicated to assisting women who’ve been released from prison by providing them with fashionable new and gently used clothing appropriate for successful re-emergence into society. In order for these women to fully celebrate their freedom and leave their old life behind, Linda believes they must symbolically shed the prison scrubs they’ve worn during incarceration and clothe themselves with new garments. The ministry helps each woman recognize her individual God-given beauty and raise the level of her self-esteem by providing her with at least one outfit suitable for interviews, work, and church. She is then able to step out into society without shame or self-consciousness about her appearance.
In only 6 months of operation, blessings roll in. The church Linda attends, Leander Assembly of God in Leander, Texas, donated a building The Lost Closet now calls home. Here, inventory can be collected, cleaned, pressed, and organized for quick access. A plus-size fashion retailer that operates on E-bay recently made a large donation of new clothing, and monetary donations are increasing. Though this type of organization can never have too much help, volunteers continue to become involved by helping with laundry, sorting, solicitation, and delivery. Some even act as stylists, pulling together trendy outfits from the assortment of donated clothing.
More and more women are leaving the Burnet facility fashionably outfitted and full of hope for their futures. As the effects of the ministry spread throughout the state and even the nation, interest and recognition have increased. The Lost Closet now has workshops scheduled to train others how to start Lost Closet programs in their communities. Additionally, Linda was awarded the 2005 Texas Governor’s Criminal Justice Religious Service Volunteer Award for her unique program.
In his letter of congratulations to Linda upon receiving her award, perhaps Gilbert Campuzano, Regional Director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, said it best:
“The development of The Lost Closet program at the Halbert Unit is certainly making a positive impact on offenders’ perception of self and self-esteem. Many times, our perception of how others see us influences our behavior as much or more than our own perceptions of ourselves. Though it might seem trivial to some, being able to leave the correctional environment in clothing that is coordinated, fits well, and is in good repair allows individuals to leave their incarceration behind with heads held high. …Thank you for the development of this worthwhile program. Your continued support of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and its mission is greatly appreciated.”
(For the mailing address, please use the P.O. Box)
18800 State Highway TX-29 west
Liberty Hill, Tx 78642