New year, new clothes Project Fresh Clothes works for a fresh start
By Kris Leonhardt
STEVENS POINT – A local group of volunteers continues to serve local kids in need through Project Fresh Clothes, an event designed to give students a fresh start in the new school year.
“It’s the 13th year that our church is doing it,” said Cathy Martin. “It’s a community thing, but St. Paul United Methodist has been running it for the last 13 years.
“It was started by a high school girl…. she started it as a Girls Scout project. She had it in her basement and it grew so much. It grew to the armory, then we took it over and multiplied it greatly. Then, we would set up at Ben Franklin (Junior High) the same day that Project Fresh Start is given out – all of the school supplies. Then, they would come into the gym and collect articles of clothing.”
Two years ago, the group switched to vouchers instead of stocking clothes for the event.
“We give each child that qualifies for Project Fresh Start, which is through free and reduced lunch; after they get their school supplies, now they get a voucher for $20,” Martin explained. “We are hoping it is $20, if we get enough money, for each child.”
The vouchers are good to purchase articles of clothing at Call it New, Nice as New, Other Mothers, and the Community Thrift Store of Portage County. The vouchers are given out at P.J. Jacobs on Aug. 17, during Project Fresh Start, to those who qualify.
“To go in and get some new school clothes,” said Martin. “So that each child can start school with a new pair of shoes, new pair of jeans – something that fits them.”
The group is in need of donations from the community to support the need.
“If people can sponsor one child, two children, three, four – whatever they can donate,” she added. “100 percent of it goes to vouchers for clothing.”
Martin said that the group serves close to 1,000 children.
“I have seen over my many years children who are embarrassed about their clothes in the fall,” stated Martin, who is a retired teacher. “They grow over the summer. Just for a child to have something new to wear is great for their self confidence and to feel more like all of the children in the classroom. It helps the parents immensely… financially to get three to four kids ready for school is very difficult.”
For more information, call 715-344-3557 or email email@example.com.