Zach Stark realizes it’s a mostly unorthodox cause.
Stark, who mans the recreational center at St. John’s Episcopal Church at the corner of Greer and Central, and his church have started an ongoing drive called “Wipes 4 Workouts.”
But he’s hoping the community in the district rallies just as they would for a food drive or anything like it.
“It’s kind of self-explanatory,” Stark said. “We have a lot of people who come in and work out in our facilities, and lots of times these are people who don’t come from privilege or a silver-spoon background. Our operation here is modest, so we need all the help we can get.”
“It seems like a silly thing to ask for, but it really can be quite necessary,” Stark said. “Hygiene and cleanliness is important, and we realize that sometimes that can be hard to uphold in special situations. That’s why we’re reaching out to the community around here and asking for help.”
Garrison Eble, who has worked at many churches as a supervisor during camps and also volunteers at St. John’s, sees a direct correlation between the towels being available and the gym being frequented.
“It’s good for people to know that they’ll be taken care of when they come here,” he said. “It gives people assurance that we’re here to help.”
Marlon Wells, a 15-year-old freshman at Melrose High School who uses the St. John’s basketball court frequently, said the towels that the church has collected have come in handy after games of 5-on-5 pickup basketball.
“I mean, sometimes the air isn’t on in the gym and it gets uncomfortable,” Wells said. “The towels come in handy when you’ve been running 5-on-5 all day and you don’t want to use your shirt to wipe your sweat.”
Stark said the church has collected dozens of white towels, which they will reuse and have readily available for anyone who needs one during a workout or basketball session.
“It’s a good, small thing for the community,” Stark said. “It might not make the biggest difference to most people but I think it’s our way of giving back and letting the people in our area know that their comfort and choice to be here is something we appreciate and don’t take for granted.”