SBR residents volunteer at Kids’ Closet

Camille Esterman

Have you ever driven past the large red building on the west side of Route 77 in Mammoth and wondered what went on behind the doors? Here is a look into the happenings at Kids’ Closet, a SaddleBrooke Community Outreach program.

8:30 a.m.: Eager volunteers from SaddleBrooke Ranch and SaddleBrooke attend an orientation meeting on Monday or Thursday mornings. They learn how many children will soon arrive, from what school and in what grades.

9:00 a.m.: The first busload of children enters the building and are seated in a well-lit, colorfully decorated reading room. A volunteer helps each child pick out two books to read while they wait and then take home.

Volunteer ‘dressers’ escort the first group of children to the handwashing station and then to the shoe fitting or clothing selection areas.

At shoe fitting, children have their feet measured and can pick out one of three pairs of new shoes in their size, which many wear back to school. A package containing six pairs of socks is also part of this deal.

At clothing selection, children are shown bins of new jeans and tops in their size, encouraged to choose items they like and escorted to private dressing rooms. Clothing is tried on and modeled for the ‘dressers’, who bring additional choices or sizes if needed. Each child’s bag contains three pair of jeans and three long-sleeved tops.

A wall of new jackets displays choices available for outer wear, along with bins of new hats and gloves. Children also receive a package of six sets of new underwear, a toothbrush, toothpaste and soap.

Smiling children check out of the shopping area with bulging bags full of their own selections, while the reading room holds children waiting to shop or waiting for their classmates to finish.

Meanwhile, the staff in the warehouse is busy unpacking shipments of new items, sorting them by size and restocking bins of clothing.

10:30 a.m.: As the first busload of children departs, another busload arrives and the happy cycle is repeated.

12:00 (noon): Volunteers end their shift, share highlights of the day and reflect on the fun they had working at Kids’ Closet. One person said, “I feel like I am back shopping with my grandchildren.” Another remarked, “It is so rewarding to help children in need and see them smile when they leave.”

Want to learn more about Kids’ Closet? Contact Jan Olsson, SBR resident and SBCO VP of KC, 520-825-7283 or talk with some of your SBR neighbors who currently volunteer: Grace and Richard Caldwell, Nancy Carlson, Denise Doepke, Carole Ericksen, Sharon Farber, Sandi Fredrickson, Jeanne Hardman, Dawn Hause, Gerry Hause, Mary Hoover, Jim Kauffman, Edie Kellogg, Elaine Klicker, Faylene Licter, Randy Lindley, Karen Malek, Janette Martin, Carol Mihal, Naomi Miller, Gary Olsson, Karen Rasmussen, Cheryl Reddy, Evie Thompson, Mary Snowden, Corine Sturdivant and Sue Wells.