More donations are needed for Project Fresh Clothes, an annual effort to collect and distribute clothing items to school children in need.
Sue Shulfer, one of the organizers of the effort, said volunteers are working hard to ensure that children in Portage County go back to school prepared for success, but that more donations are needed for their efforts. “Here we are on July 18, one month away from the Aug. 18 distribution, and right now we need lots of clothes, yet,” she said.
Sponsored by St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Stevens Point, Project Fresh Clothes began nine years ago with a goal to provide several new articles of school clothing for every kindergarten to 12th-grade student that comes to the Project Fresh Start distribution, which will be held at Ben Franklin Junior High School Saturday, Aug. 18.
Shulfer said this year the organizers are unofficially using the motto “Outgrown clothes are valued.”
“In the next few weeks, clean out your child’s closet, find outgrown or go shopping and find clothes, shoes, boot or coats and contribute your ‘gently used’ or new clean school clothes to a good cause,” she said, noting boys’ clothing and shoes are especially needed.
Collection containers for the clothes are located at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church (just north of Washington School) in Stevens Point and the YMCA. This year, Best Buy in Plover and First Weber Realtors at 5424 Highway 10 East in Stevens Point are also collecting clothes for the project.
Project Fresh Clothes runs in conjunction with Project Fresh Start, which provides registered children with school supplies and is coordinated by the United Way of Portage County. Shulfer said volunteers are anticipating serving 1,000 children this year. She said because each child receives approximately 10 clothing items, 10,000 items are needed.
Between six to 12 people volunteer on Wednesdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the church to prepare clothes, and nearly 100 people help set up and distribute clothes the day before and the day of the distribution. People wishing to volunteer can do so online at volunteersrock.org.
The Women’s Fund of Portage County awarded a grant to Project Fresh Clothes this year. For others who would like to make a cash donation for clothes to be purchased by volunteers and then distributed, checks should be made out to St. Paul’s UMC/Project Fresh Clothes and sent to 600 Wilshire Blvd., Stevens Point, WI 54481. A tax receipt can be supplied upon request.