Clothes for Kids now open; free back-to-school clothing for those in need

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Clothes For Kids, a non-profit organization providing wardrobes to low-income families, opened its doors for back to school on Monday, Aug. 22.  “Thanks to generous donations from the community, we have the best back-to-school inventory that we have seen in at least the last eight years,” says Nancy Laird-Burris, Clothes for Kids Program Manager.

Over the summer, the volunteers have been sorting, cleaning and preparing the store for back to school. During the first two weeks of operation, the organization anticipates that more than 50 volunteers will contribute nearly 1,500 hours of support to ensure that every family receives quality services and clothing.  With a generous donation from Umpqua Bank, Clothes for Kids has invested in new plus-size clothing for teen girls and boys.

Students qualify for Clothes For Kids through the free or reduced-lunch program. To simplify the process for the families, students should obtain a clothing requisition form from their school office.  The form outlines the hours of operation and includes a detailed map to Clothes For Kids.

When families arrive at Clothes For Kids, they will be given a number and asked to wait so that each family can have the space and time necessary to pick out clothing for their students. Each student will receive a shopping list and basket when they come in to shop and can then look through the racks of new and gently used clothing that have been sorted by size and type. There are two dressing rooms for the students to ensure that their wardrobe will fit properly.  During fall/winter shopping, students should receive a warm coat, a lighter-weight coat, one pair of shoes, socks, underwear and two outfits for school.  The only thing that is missing is the cash register.

“We find that the wardrobes provided by Clothes For Kids help students to build confidence, so that they can attend school focused on learning and not their clothing,” says Lynda Tripp, CFK Board member and volunteer.  “In addition to the benefits to the students, relieving the families of this expense gives them the opportunity to focus on housing, food and other necessities.”

With many families feeling the effects of this difficult economy, the need is greater than ever.  Clothes For Kids would like additional volunteers, in-kind donations and cash contributions to help fill the holes in inventory and meet the needs of students in Headstart through 12th grade. For more information about Clothes For Kids, visit www.clothesforkids.org or call 425-741-6500.

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