Clothes to Kids in need of donations

By Lois Beery Fulmer | Jun 03, 2014
Photo by: Donated FREE SHOES TO A GOOD HOME — From left, Nancy Copeland, Teresa Brothers, Karen McDonald, Betsy Hardin, Pat Koonts, Patty Foran and Dianne Goodgame unpack a welcome shipment of shoes from Soles for Souls.

In late summer of 2013, Clothes To Kids of Haywood County, Inc., a nonprofit with a mission to provide new and quality used clothing to low-income or in-crisis school-age children free of charge, became a reality after months of planning.

The clothing shop at 177 Weldon Way, Suite 2, has become a beehive of activity ever since its open house Aug. 25, 2013.  Family referrals come from the Haywood County School System based on free or reduced lunch prices and/or manna bag recipients.

Since that time, the charity has provided wardrobes to approximately 400 school kids in Haywood County thanks to the generosity of full- and part-time residents who have donated time and money for clothes that must be purchased and quality used clothing that is school age appropriate for grades K-12.  A wardrobe consists of three tops, three bottoms, a dress, sweater or jacket in season, three accessories for girls and two for boys, three pairs of socks, three underwear items and a pair of shoes.

Working with an all-volunteer staff, the group has transitioned the shop from winter jackets, sweaters and heavier clothing, to light and bright fun clothes to wear for school and school activities throughout the spring and summer.

Several churches in the area have been instrumental in providing funds and clothing when needed. One church is planning a second “Undie Sunday” when they collect all sizes of underwear for youth girls and boys as well as teen girls and boys.

Perhaps your church, Sunday School group or service club would like to sponsor a “Sock It To Me” event to provide socks for all sizes or a “If The Shoe Fits, Donate It” drive for school-appropriate shoes.

Clothes to Kids collaborates with a nonprofit group in Old Hickory, Tennessee, called Soles4Souls. The mission of this organization is to provide new shoes to qualifying charities.  We have been privileged to receive two shipments of 100 pairs of shoes each. But total shoe needs are not completely met as the organization specializes in tennis/athletic shoes. We can especially use sandals, slides, flip flops, deck shoes etc. in summer, and boots, platforms, etc. for winter.

Being an affiliate of an already successful program in the St. Petersburg/Clearwater area, we know what an impact this can have on the children and are excited about the response in Haywood County.

Our vision is for every school-age young person to have quality clothing so that he or she may attend school with the confidence and self-esteem needed to achieve academic success. Parents can qualify their children by contacting the social worker in their respective schools and calling for an appointment.

With almost a whole school year behind us, Clothes To Kids of Haywood County is looking forward to another year of serving the kids. The community can continue to support us through individual and corporate sponsorships as well as donated clothing. We're also happy to speak to your organization to give you first-hand information about how the program is changing kids lives.

Call Sylvia Russell at 850-661-6766 or Dianne Goodgame at 452-2213 for more information.

To inquire about clothing sizes most needed or to drop off donations, call 456-8990 or email ctkhaywood@yahoo.com.

Lois Beery Fulmer is the secretary/treasurer of Clothes to Kids of Haywood County.

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