Volunteers from a North Texas school district deliver clean clothes and the confidence that goes with it to hundreds of children in need.
But when the district’s only washing machine broke down recently, volunteers had to find a way to pivot – and keep the students in their clothes.
A new load of laundry can take away the anxiety of students who need clean clothes.
“It’s heartbreaking. This neighborhood has a lot of families in need, more than most people realize. People think HEB is a wealthy neighborhood, and it isn’t, ”said Dawn Howard, parent and volunteer.
It took a few tough weeks to get the Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD PTA clothes closet to work at full capacity.
“Our original washing machine broke down. What we have now is a loan. It’s a little small, we can’t have an industrial size here, but we could use a little bigger washing machine, ”Howard said.
To keep pace, volunteers wash donated clothes at home or bring loads to a laundromat.
A working washing machine isn’t the only thing she could use in the winter.
“We desperately need coats, we desperately need pants, new shoes. The supply chain is a problem with the shoes, we are unable to find shoes, or the price has gone up so much, ”said Crystal Sadler, chair of the PTA Council at HEB ISD.
The hangers and empty shelves speak of a need that will only get worse with the cold weather on the way.
While the locker room waits for a new washing machine, the volunteers have a bigger wish: to continue providing clean clothes to the students, whatever the cost.
“It’s a gift that we just can’t help but give. We want to help these children, ”Sadler said.
The HEB PTA clothes closet served 1,600 students before COVID-19 during one school year.
It also provides warm clothes and shoes for the siblings accompanying the students.
In the year 2020-21, the need halved, serving around 800 students and their families who were learning virtually at home.
The need increases with the return of children to school. Since August, it has served 352 students and their families.
If you want to help out, here are a few things to know.
- The HEB PTA clothing closet will accept donations of used and new clothing sizes 4T to 4X, gift cards, laundry products, new shoes, gift cards, laundry products, new shoes, socks new and new underwear for boys and girls.
- The Clothes Closet has an Amazon Wish List and a Facebook page.
- Items can be dropped off at any time in the blue bin outside the clothes closet, or they are open Tuesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It is also open the second and fourth Saturday of each month.
- Those who wish to help can also contact the wardrobe coordinator.