Tuscola teen collects jeans for homeless
The number of homeless youth is on the rise in Haywood County and nationwide. Today, about one in three homeless people are under the age of 18 and more than 240 of those homeless youth live here in Haywood.
To address this trend, Chloe Williams, a freshman at Tuscola High School, has taken it upon herself to collect pairs of used jeans to donate to homeless teens. She signed Tuscola up to participate in the Teens for Jeans campaign with the mission of providing jeans to homeless youth in local communities nationwide.
“I decided to do this because I thought it would be great to help out the community and the teenagers that aren’t as fortunate,” Williams said.
Donated jeans can be in any condition, any size or brand and for males or females. Tuscola high will have a collection box for donated jeans at the front office and a drop-off box will also be located at The Mountaineer office, 220 N. Main Street, Waynesville. Williams will also be collecting jeans on Feb. 8 in front of Walmart in Waynesville.
She said her goal is to collect at least 1,000 pairs of jeans by Feb. 14, but of course “more would be better.” If Tuscola is able to collect the most donations for the contest, the school could win a grand prize of a $10,000 grant.
Williams said she would like to see the money spent on upgrading the computer labs and for other improvements teachers need in the classroom.
“I’ve talked to several teachers who said they need help in their classrooms so I think that would be a good thing to do,” she said.
In addition, $5,000 grants will be given to the top collecting elementary, middle and high schools. Williams will also be entered to win a $4,000 scholarship since she entered the school into the contest. If she wins a scholarship, she said she would put it toward her college education. Her plan is to attend University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with the goal of becoming a neonatal nurse.
The campaign is a partnership between Areopostale, DoSomething.org and Fifth Harmony to collect jeans for teens and the high school that collects the most receives the scholarship money. In six years, the campaign has collected more than 3.5 million pairs of jeans.
Williams will collect the jeans until Feb. 14 before taking the donations to Aeropostale on Feb. 16. After the jeans are dropped off with Aeropostale in Asheville, the store is partnered with homeless shelters or charities in the community to distribute the jeans.
Williams is busy spreading the word by speaking to different classes at school. Her family recently moved to Haywood County from Hawaii and her mother Sabrina Williams said this project is helping her to meet more friends and get over her shyness.
Chloe wants to encourage her classmates to clean out their closets to help their peers have clothing throughout the school year.
For more information or to sign up your school for the campaign, visit http://www.dosomething.org/teensforjeans.