I was excited when a last-minute opening in our Delivering Christmas calendar allowed me the opportunity to head to Stanford Gibson Primary School on Wednesday to assist with the Holiday Clothing Drive. I’d written about the program, which is a joint cooperation between The Place and the Norwich City School District, before. But this was my first time pitching in.
The goal of the Holiday Clothing Drive is to provide a new outfit (pants and shirt) to children in need during the Holiday season. It was initially started by the school system on a small scale in the 1980s. As need in the community has grown, the program has grown. The Place first became involved by providing volunteers. Last year, the non-profit’s role expanded and it now handles administration of the program.
Requests for clothing are funneled through the school district’s social workers, Kelly Collins-Colosi and Sarah Hordge. As of Wednesday, some 203 families had signed up, which translated to more than 500 kids in need.
How do they fill all those requests? Well, that’s where the community comes in. Giving trees decorated with ornaments indicating specific clothing items were placed at Wal Mart and each of Norwich’s school buildings. Helpful shoppers take that as their cue, grabbing tags off the trees and purchasing the appropriate articles of clothing. Others choose to donate cash instead, which volunteers then use to purchase the other items they need.