“There’s another student in school and I saw she had really ripped up clothes and it was a spirit week. It was a pajama day actually, and her nightgown was really ripped up,” said Noah Denton, a fourth-grader at D-West. “I just felt so bad for her and I thought, ‘I know I can do something about this, or try.’ So I went home and I asked my mom if I could write something down on paper and she said, ‘Yeah, you can try.’ So I wrote something down on paper and I presented it to PTO.”
Denton said his idea was a clothing closet for any student to use.
“If they don’t have any clothes or if their clothes are dirty or something, the teachers wash the clothes sometimes, but they can get new clothes. They can check them out for the day and return them or they can take them,” Denton said. “It makes me feel really good, I’m glad I get to help all the kids that need it.”
Crystal Tracy said she jumped on board to help organize the project.
“Once this idea was brought up, the fourth-grade class wanted to do something with it right then but of course it takes a little bit of time to get things built up and get things started and that’s how Tiffany Rhodd and myself got involved,” Tracy said. “The teachers and staff reached out they wanted somebody to kind of be in charge and get the project going. What we did was we sent out flyers and put stuff in the paper.”
Tracy said the closet is being used daily by D-West students.
“For example, if they’ve left a coat at home they are more then welcome to come check out a coat from the closet. On the flip-side of that they are more than welcome to keep the coat forever. So if a child doesn’t have a warm winter coat and they need that coat they can keep it,” Tracy said.
She said they set up different drop off locations and community members responded donating numerous items.
“We have all different ages using it because Doniphan West has preschool through sixth-grade at the elementary school so we’re accepting all sizes of clothing from preschool on up,” Tracy said. “We’re having to get more specific items.”
Tracy said right now there’s a need for socks, hygiene items and shoes.
“It’s not just for kids that necessarily need that item, it’s for kids that want to come in and maybe want a Doniphan West shirt to wear for the next day. Maybe it’s a Spirit Day and they would like a Doniphan West shirt,” Tracy said. “We have people that have volunteered graciously to wash all of the items and bring them to the school.”
She said the kids in the fourth-grade fold the clothes, hang them and keep track of what’s being taken out and brought in.
“It’s really a great tool for the fourth-graders to learn how to run a small business,” Tracy said.
Since the cold weather is nearing an end the closet is asking for dress-up items for Easter like dresses, ties etc., summer wear, shoes size four and up, socks, and personal hygiene items. She said donations can be sent to school with the children or dropped off at the school. Casey’s in Highland and the Walter Wellness Center are also listed as drop-off locations.