Kids Community Closet providing clothing, winter clothing for children in need

ST LOUIS – Children who need gloves or warm coats find exactly what they need in special “closets”.

The National Council of Jewish Women of St. Louis (NCJWSTL) knows that having what you need helps keep kids in school and focused on learning.

A new Children’s Community Closet (KCC) was built at KIPP Wonder Academy on Wednesday by students from the College Town High School store volunteering with their store teacher.

The high school students just completed a children’s community closet across from their school at Jackson Park Elementary. In the next few weeks, a closet will be installed at Buder Elementary. NCJWSTL has stocked closets at KIPP, Jackson Park and Buder throughout the pandemic. For safety reasons, real closets can now be built!

“The goal is to serve children in communities and keep them in school. So if they go out on recess, maybe they don’t have gloves, we’ll have them in the closet so they can hang out. Socks, we want to make sure they have them,” said NCJWSTL board member Michelle Brooks.

The Kids Community Closet is stocked by NCJWSTL volunteers who work with school administrators to provide students in need with the clothing, winter gear, or personal care items they need to succeed.

Partnerships are key to this program and to NCJWSTL’s overall impact on the community.

The college high school students, their teacher, Steven Wurst, the high school teacher, and Jim Clarkin, the woodworking coordinator at the Carpenters/Community Volunteer Joint Apprenticeship Program, volunteered to install brand new cabinets in local elementary schools.

“It feels good because I’m the eldest of all my siblings, and they always ask me to help with stuff, so helping others makes me feel good,” Kylin Fisher said.

Not only do students learn applied skills in their classroom, but they also experience what it means to give back to the community.

With more than 5,000 members and supporters, the NCJWSTL has worked to improve the lives of women, children, and families in St. Louis since 1895. Beginning with the region’s first free milk program in 1919, the NCJWSTL is a catalyst and unifier within the nonprofit community.

Kids Community Closet (KCC) provides underserved children with clothing, coats, backpacks, school supplies and personal care items in their school to enable them to attend school every day, which maximize their learning potential.

“I think students are going through the pandemic in particular, a lot of kids are experiencing some degree of food or clothing insecurity, the goal would be for kids to be able to come to school without worrying about a dirty uniform or the absence of a uniform and focus on learning and having fun,” said Christopher Frills.

NCJWSTL’s Kids Community Closet program serves 32 schools in seven districts in the St. Louis area, reaching more than 11,000 students annually with Kids Community Closet resources.

Created in 2008, the Kids Community Closet has had a direct impact on the students who have access to it: attendance rates have increased in schools with Kids Community Closets.

NCJWSTL serves students attending elementary school who are at least 80% qualified to receive free and/or reduced-price lunches.

For more information on how you can get involved or donate, visit: https://ncjwstl.org/why-we-do-this-work/kids-community-closet/

About Carl Schroeder

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