Nancy McCluskey-Moore and Camille Esterman
Ranchers, did you know that for the past 22 years Kids’ Closet has been providing children with new school clothing to raise their self-esteem and encourage school attendance? This SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) program illustrates the organization’s motto: It’s All About the Kids.
Twice each school year, in the fall and spring, thousands of students from nearby rural communities arrive at the Kids’ Closet in Mammoth to choose new clothing. Children eligible to receive free meals at their pre-school or school are referred to the program.
In the 2017-18 school year, 3,121 students in pre-school, elementary and junior high/middle schools received clothing from Kids’ Closet. Students came from three Head Start programs and 17 schools in eight communities. In the fall, each student chooses three pairs of pants, three long-sleeve shirts, a jacket, a knit hat and gloves, a pair of shoes, six pair of socks, six sets of underwear, a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and two books.
In the spring, each student selects three pairs of shorts, three short-sleeve shirts, a sweatshirt, a pair of shoes, six pair of socks, six sets of underwear, a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and two books.
A dedicated group of volunteers, including more than 20 Ranchers, work hard to assist so many children. All tasks associated with buying, unpacking, tracking, stocking and inventorying the clothing and books, as well as managing finances are performed by volunteers. Whenever the Kids’ Closet is open, a volunteer serves as a student’s personal shopper, helping ensure the selected clothing fits. Volunteers also manage communication with school counselors, ensuring that permission slips are received and every student shopper receives the assistance needed.