MENASHA, Wis. (WFRV) – Friday afternoon, personal shoppers walked kids through the Community Clothes Closet in Menasha.
“I’m being a shopper today, so I’m helping the families come through,” says volunteer Nanci Micke, “and they’re choosing items for their children for school.”
The closet is chock full of brand new clothing items to start the school year off right.
“We really want kids to fit in with their peers,” Lisa Jones, Executive Director for the Community Clothes Closet explains, “feel confident about starting that new year, and so having that new piece of clothing just gives that extra confidence and readiness for school.”
It’s a confidence boost for the kids, and a helping hand for the entire family.
“The majority of our families are working families, but are definitely struggling to make ends meet,” says Jones, “and so that’s part of what makes our mission, to help those families spread out that income for other necessities.”
Jones adds that this year’s event is even more special after the coronavirus pandemic forced them to hold last year’s event without the kids in attendance.
“There’s definitely an excitement when you have the kids here,” she says. “You feel their energy and just enthusiasm.”
A lot of that enthusiasm comes from being able to make their own wardrobe decisions.
Every kid who goes through the closet gets to pick out two tops, a pair of pants, socks, underwear, and a new pair of shoes.
“We definitely encourage the children to pick out their own clothing,” says Jones, “because we want them to feel excited about what they’re receiving and confident in what they’re going to be wearing for that first day of school.”
Micke adds, “They have very definite opinions from a very early age as to what they like and what they don’t like.”
Over the course of two days, about 400 kids will have the chance to make their opinions known at the Community Clothes Closet.
Next up for the families will be the first day of school.
“It’s a big day. Everybody takes pictures that first day when you come back to school. It’s really special to have a new school outfit, and we feel that every child should be able to have that,” says Micke.