Shoes pinch; socks get holes; pants hit the high-water mark – it’s time for new clothes for growing kids. But when families can’t afford items for their children, the Sacramento Council of PTAs (Third District PTA) is there to help, as it has for more than 60 years.
Since 1950, the Sacramento Council of PTAs Clothes Closet has helped more than 1,000 children a year get ready for back-to-school time – and any time September through June – with free clothing, socks, underwear, backpack supplies and more. Operated in partnership with the Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD), the chock-full facility is open to district-enrolled students ages 3 – 18 who can each receive a shopping trip once a semester.
Council President Laura Rios said PTA units and volunteers always have played a major role in the closet’s services.
“Unit leaders would donate their time to keep the clothes closet organized, including washing donations,” she said. “Families appreciate having access to the free clothing.”
But recent budget cuts – especially the elimination of a part-time district-funded position to coordinate appointments, staffing and donations — have created challenges. Nevertheless, community and PTA volunteers have risen to the occasion as they always have to make a difference for the closet – and for district families in need.
“The Sacramento City Teachers Association holds a ‘Tush and Toes’ drive where they challenge schools to donate and the one donating the most getting a special treat,” said Rios. “Our council also recently participated for the first time in the SHARE Fair at Cosumnes River College (CRC), with two high-school students working on their service project collecting donations of socks and undies from CRC college students and staff.”
Rios also reports that the council currently is working on a grant to further strengthen the closet’s services, and that SCUSD’s Family and Community Engagement Department has been very supportive in helping serve local families.
“When families receive uniforms and clothing, it gives more opportunity for our children to stay and be successful in school,” said Rios.
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