NBC26 Cares: Caring Closet
Green Bay Southwest High School students are helping their low income classmates by donating clothing and volunteering their time at the school's "Caring Closet." Video by nbc26.comvideo
Green Bay, WI -- The Green Bay School District has one of the highest rates of student homelessness in Wisconsin. It's a problem their peers recognize, and now they're working to help them get through tough times.
Fashion is fun for teenagers especially when they can shop for free!
"What better place to get clothes for a homeless student than school," said senior Grace Weise.
Weise is a volunteer at "Troy's House." It's the name of the Southwest High Trojans' "Caring Closet," a room inside the school that's jam-packed with donated clothing.
"I'm pretty surprised, but I'm very proud of it too, to see that a lot of students are donating and helping out one another," said junior Maddy French.
French was also surprised to learn that 851 students are homeless in the Green Bay School District, but Troy's House serves any student whose family is struggling financially.
"They light up. They light up. I had a student just the other day that just recently got a job, and she needed some clothes for work and just picked out a few things and tried them on and they fit perfectly," said Janine Krajnik, school social worker.
You can find more than just everyday clothing at the Caring Closet. Students also donate their old caps and gowns for graduation, dresses for prom, personal hygiene items like shampoo and deodorant and even school supplies.
"A lot of times it takes everything the students and families have to actually ask us for things, but when they get them, they're very very thankful," explained Krajnik.
Everything is kept confidential, and student volunteers make sure Troy's House is stocked with styles and brands that teens would wear.
"A lot of people care about that which they shouldn't but they do, and I feel like it helps them fit in more," said French.
Weise added, "I'm a big part of the environment, and I think it's a really good way to recycle instead of just throwing away clothes."
Grace and Maddy say donating their clothes and time feels fantastic, but it's the feeling their classmates in need get that matters most.
"I think we're letting them know that people care and people want to help them, and letting them know that there's somebody here that can always help them out if they need it," explained French.
Right now, Troy's House is in desperate need of undergarments. Anyone can drop-off donations at Southwest High School, but all of the Green Bay high schools have a Caring Closet and they would appreciate any help you can give.