Community Closet helps clothe, feed kids in Jackson

Posted at 8:42 AM, Nov 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-03 10:37:21-04

The Community Closet at the Middle School at Parkside in Jackson is packed.

Many Mid-Michigan families struggle to send their kids to school with all the supplies they need, and one mom wanted to do something about it.

"We can either you know be sad or we can choose to do something about it," says Parkside parent and volunteer Casey Cretsinger.

After a lot of hard work, the doors at the Parkside Community Closet opened this school year.

Parents just fill out a form, and students can shop for whatever they need.

"We've worked really hard to keep clothes that we think junior high students will enjoy," she says.

And it doesn't stop on school days. On Fridays, students can take home a back pack filled with food to get them through the weekend.

The reaction from students makes it all worth it.

"There was a student who came down and he saw an Under Armour sweatshirt and asked if he could have it," says Cretsinger, "and I said 'yeah of course' and he said 'I've never had anything like this.'"

"We are so happy that they don't feel like it something that they should be embarrassed about," says Parkside Parent Liaison Kristy Dillon, who was also instrumental in getting the program started.

Thanks to the community, the closet keeps growing.

"The tremendous outreach to help stock and to help maintain the community closet really says a lot about how we want our kids to be raised," says Jackson Public Schools Superintendent Jeff Beal.

There is a bigger need than you might expect for items like these.

"I had a couple kids, just (in) the first couple of weeks, found out that they could get hygiene products," says school social worker Amber Daweritz, "several of them were like, 'Can I have some for my brother? Can I have some for my sister?'"

So these parents will push forward, to keep the shelves here full and the students stocked up.

The closet is always looking for donations, in particular right now, girls athletic shoes.

To donate or get help, contact the school or check out the Parkside Community Closet Facebook page. That link is in this story.

The volunteers hope this will spread to other schools.