By Johnna VanDeurzen, Annual Giving & Grants Specialist, Community Clothes Closet
Clothing can open the door to a better future. Thanks to a new Traveling Closet, Oshkosh Area School District students’ futures are looking a little brighter.
Each month during the school year, a large truck filled with clothing, bedding, winter wear and personal care items from the Community Clothes Closet is visiting the Boys and Girls Club of Oshkosh to benefit local youth. Pre-registered students shop at the Traveling Closet, and everything is completely free of charge.
In the program’s first three months, on average, we helped 70 students and distributed about 1,000 items including clothing, bedding and hygiene kits.
A mom with three children who has attended each event wrote to us saying, “Thank you! My husband and I are currently living in a one bedroom with our three boys and saving to get a bigger place. This is just such a big blessing.”
Danielle from Boys and Girls Club of Oshkosh, our event host, commented, “This fits so perfectly into our mission to improve the lives of children and families. We have so many kids/families within the Club and within the community that absolutely need this!”
In addition, our partnership with Oshkosh schools means we can help families who have immediate needs.
Ms. Thiel, a school social worker, had this to say, “When I contacted Community Clothes Closet for two families that were in crisis, within 24 hours they provided clothes, winter gear, blankets, sheets, sleeping bags, and pillows for families that desperately needed it. I am so impressed by their understanding of urgency and their willingness and passion. The donations are an immense help to the families and they represent the families’ first spark of hope that things will get better.”
“Bringing these items to kids who can’t get to our Menasha facility is game-changing” said Lisa Jones, Community Clothes Closet Executive Director. “We could never have brought this to reality without the support of so many amazing community partners.”
The Traveling Closet was kick-started with a $50,000 grant from the Basic Needs Giving Partnership within the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation, which is supported by the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs, the J.J. Keller Foundation and other community partners. Other funders of the Traveling Closet include the Theda and Tamblin Clark Smith Family Foundation and the Take 5 Fund within the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation.