About Us

Our Mission


To provide free clothing and small household items to Steele County residents in need.

It is with this mission in mind that we aim to foster person-to-person sharing between those who receive and those who want to help. Our free store assists people in need, people confronted by crisis, victims of disaster, and other displaced individuals transition from poverty to economic self-sufficiency.

Our History


The Steele County Clothesline began as a project of the Woman’s Club of Owatonna in 1963. In 1997, with the assistance of Steele County Human Services, a consultant was hired to transition the project to a full-fledged not-for-profit organization. By July of that year a Board of Directors was formed, 501(c) 3 status was obtained, and the Steele County Clothesline, Inc. opened its doors. In 1999, the Board hired an Executive Director, and part-time staff was added in 2000.

We now serve over 1300 children and adults each year, meeting the need for clothing, shoes, linens, outerwear, and other small household items thanks to the generosity of the citizens and businesses of Steele County, and in partnership with local governments, religious and civic organizations, charitable foundations and other area service agencies.