Every Saturday for the past 10 years, William Kerby has distributed hundreds and thousands of pounds of clothing to those experiencing homelessness in the Austin area through Kerby’s Clothing Ministry.
Kerby’s Clothing Ministry (KCM) provides clothing, shoes, jackets, backpacks, household goods, and even pet food to those experiencing homelessness. Founder William Kerby often partners with other organizations like Lighter Loads ATX supporting the homeless community, gathering to offer clothing, showers, food, and medical help. On other occasions, he visits those in need on his own.
It doesn’t matter how William arrives – those experiencing homelessness are always excited to see him, usually greeting him and his canine sidekick Socks with a hug and a smile. But the service William offers goes beyond handing out clothing. He offers friendship, words of wisdom, and comfort when needed. He is well-known for going out of his way to help others – one special case involved a young woman staying at Camp Esperanza looking for black slacks as part of a dress code for a new job she was starting. KCM didn’t have a pair at the time, so William personally went on the hunt. Through social media, he was able to locate a pair and deliver the slacks to the young woman the day before she started her new job. At another gathering, William dressed a homeless man for an upcoming job interview. His friend got the job as is no longer homeless! Kerby’s Clothing Ministry relies a lot on Facebook with close to 1500 friends and a Facebook page titled Kerbysclothingministry.
William runs Kerby’s Clothing Ministry out of his home and has primarily funded the efforts at a personal expense. In the past few years, KCM began to receive donations from individuals, local churches, and a multitude of donations from a local thrift store called The Ladies of Charity Lake Travis Thrift Store. He’s even received donations from New York via his Amazon Wishlist!
In 2021 alone, William purchased cooling towels during the hot summer, 70 cases of pants and blue jeans, socks, underwear, and other items. He purchased fuel to make more than 150 trips totaling over 1,500 miles picking up and distributing donations to places like Camp Esperanza, The Mosaic, and downtown Austin/Hwy 183 homeless camps. Every year KCM also distributes over 500 jackets donated by The Junior League of Austin to low-income children and those experiencing homelessness.
William considers what he’s doing a calling from God and professes that KCM is The Hands and Feet of Jesus – if you donate just one pair of shoes and it will help that one person, he says, then it is God’s will. “William Kerby checks off all these boxes,” said Steve Wydman of Angel’s Healing & Recovery Church. “Someone who loves and serves others with the purity of heart, using the spiritual gifts given to them, serving without needing acknowledgment, and consistent in follow-through with the people being served.