Community Closet helps students for 2nd year

Elise Wilke-Grimm
News/Opinion Editor

Photo by Elise Wilke-Grimm
The Community Closet is located next to Office 124 (John E. Thomas’s office). It contains a variety of clothes, personal hygiene products and snacks.

Founded two years ago by administrative assistants Jill Peel and Leigh McKittrick, the Community Closet helps roughly five to10 students everyday.

The closet provides students who are in need of food, winter clothes and more.

Students who are interested in visiting the Community Closet can go to office 124. Julie Simonsen, John E Thomas’ administrative assistant, will help to find all provisions that are available.

There are no special requirements to being applicable for receiving donations. It’s more of a trust system, and if a student already has a winter coat or can afford it, then taking one from the community closet isn’t necessary.

“We want to be very inclusive of everyone’s personal needs. It doesn’t really matter who you are; we want to be able to help everyone,” Simonsen said.

Chelsea Center coordinator Kerry Arens’ Real World Problem Solving class has been researching poverty.

As part of the class, students are working with the Community Closet to take action to support it. They’ve designed a change drive that went on the week before Spirit Week, which raised roughly $342.87 for the Community Closet.

McKittrick, Dwight Kirksey’s administrative assistant, and Simonsen believe no student should have to come to school cold or hungry. This is why they are so passionate about the way the closet has expanded over the two years that it’s been running.

People around the community have heard about the Closet through either a friend, family member or a post on the Community Connect (a Facebook page).

Along with other students, parents and teachers help the closet out by donating old clothes, winter coats, or by buying toiletries or grab-and-go food for students to pick up.

McKittrick hopes to expand the closet with dresses, shoes, tuxes, etc. for school dances which can be expensive.

The Community Closet organizers are also looking to move into a bigger space than the one they currently have.
“Our closet is very private. We like for the kids to know that we are keeping everything confidential,” McKittrick said.


Elise Wilke-Grimm – News/Opinion Editor

This is news and opinion editor Elise Wilke-Grimm’s first year on ECHO staff. She is excited to begin work on the ECHO and get lots of chances to write.


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