Modern Woodmen members stock SOCSD closets
Modern Woodmen members in Starkville recently spent time and resources to enhance a little-known service in the Starkville Oktibbeha Consolidated School District — the district’s clothing closets.
The SOCSD clothing closets, primarily stocked with donated gently used, school dress-code clothing, are accessed daily by teachers, social workers, counselors and administrative staff, providing an immediate change of clothes when needed for children at school and a resource for families in crisis.
Parent volunteer Marchelle Brain said clothing closets serve two purposes: giving children a change of clothes in case of an accident while at school, and a supply of clothing for social workers to provide to children in need.
“We learned of this need when researching homelessness and home insecurity in and around Starkville,” Modern Woodmen Financial Representative Barbara Coats said. “The purpose of the clothing closets is to help those students who don’t have the proper school uniforms, but also to help those who have one-time issues, such as bathroom accidents in the younger grades.”
Coats and other Modern Woodmen members were able to provide nearly $4,000 in pants, shorts, underwear, diapers, deodorant, feminine hygiene products and more to the school system, all as part of Modern Woodmen’s “Take Homelessness to Heart” campaign for 2018.
“I’m so pleased with how we were able to help, but the bigger picture is what’s important,” Coats said. “I want people in our community to know that our kids need help. They need donations and they need vol-
unteers. Gently-used uniforms or uniform-appropriate clothing can be dropped off at the office of any of our local schools.”
The school clothes closets complement an ongoing program of the local Junior Auxiliary in which the Junior Auxiliary provides assistance to each student in need by purchasing two new sets of school dress-code outfits by request of the schools’ social workers. The school clothing closets then provide
an on-hand resource for immediate needs.
Every fall and spring, the SOCSD schools hold clothing drives soliciting donations of gently used or new dress-code pants, shorts, skirts, and shirts; shoes, coats, jackets, and sweaters; as well as new socks, underwear, and personal hygiene items, but they welcome donations year round. All sizes, from 4T to adult XXL, are needed.
Brain said dress-code pants with holes in the knees are even accepted and can be made into
“I love it,” Brain said. “I love recycling and so I like to see things being reused and put to a good use to help kids who need uniforms and help counselors and social workers. The school has a need to help kids get clothe to change into.”
Brian said there is a constant need for clothing in the clothing closets, and the volunteers have a hard time keeping enough clothes in it.
The needs of the J.L. King Center and Emerson Family Resource
Center are even greater. Gently used and new non-dress code clothing and shoes in all sizes, from infant to adult, as well as diapers, wipes, and personal hygiene and laundry supplies can be donated to the clothing closets at these locations.
“My hope is that we get enough clothes that we can share them with the J.L. King Center,” Brain said. “I don’t want to stockpile them. My goal is that we have all these things used and we can share and recycle the clothes.”
The SOCSD dress code includes khaki and black pants, shorts, and skirts, and yellow, white, gray, and black polo shirts, as well as school district T-shirts.
Year-round donations help keep community closets stocked in all seasons. Feel free to drop donations at any SOCSD school front desk. For questions about donating or volunteering to help keep the closets running, please contact Marchelle Brain at email@example.com or Audrey Reid at audreyreid996@gmail. com.
Modern Woodman members Jamey Bachman, Angela Hill and Lauren Lang, Progressive Starkville Network member Audrey Reid, Modern Woodmen Financial Representative Barbara Coats, parent volunteer Marchelle Brain and SOCSD counselors Faye Smith, Mildred Smith and Lakettia Luckett are helping keep the district’s clothing closets stocked for children in need of clothes.