District touts clothing room

Cooperative effort offers free clothes to schoolchildren

The Lawrence school district wants more people to know about the free clothes it has for schoolchildren who need them.

The district’s clothing room at Cordley School “has everything from the basic socks to underwear,” said Julie Nice, a volunteer in the room. “We even have scarves, coats and hats, for just about any age group. The things may not be brand new, but we make sure they are in good shape.”

Nice, who has two children in Lawrence schools, started volunteering at the clothing room in 1995.

“One of my good friends was in charge of the room at the time, and I thought it would be a good way to give back to the community,” she said. “It’s just so rewarding, yet almost sad that children need help getting underwear and socks.”

The clothing room, which opened its doors in the early 1990s, is maintained with donations from the community, PTAs and area businesses. It wasn’t always that way.

Until 2000, the Lawrence School Area Council made it mandatory for all PTAs to donate $50 yearly. The council called it quits in June 2000 for budget reasons, but the clothing room survived.

“We do have a bank account,” Nice said. “The money is held under Cordley School’s name, but every year we spend nearly $600 just for the district clothing room. We buy underwear, socks, maybe an article of clothing we don’t have in someone’s size … mostly things that people need that are new.”

There are steps families are asked to follow to obtain the clothing.

“We ask that parents notify someone — a teacher, counselor, secretary, someone — at their child’s school,” said Cordley Principal Kim Bodensteiner. “It doesn’t matter what school in the district your child attends, just notify someone there, and once that is done, a time will be set up so someone in the district can escort the family in the clothing room.”