The right start: Free clothes, supplies available to students

August, 2017 Posted in Community

Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 12.11.09 PMBy Mary Owen

Sue Sweeney and Linda Smith call themselves “everyday people.”

“We just wanted to do something for the children in the Santiam Canyon,” Sweeney said.

The “something” is the School Kick Off 2017, a free event for all school-age children in the area who can use some help with school supplies, gently-used clothing, personal hygiene items and more.

“The idea started with the homeless count last January,” Sweeney said. “Here in Lyons we didn’t have very many children’s clothing to give away, and there is a great need for gently-used clothing.”

The two women started organizing the clothing give-away, complete with a pajama table.

“Kids need to have something warm and cozy to wear at the end of the day,” Sweeney said. “Then we added blankets. Another great need is hygiene items. “When families are on a limited-budget, hygiene items may be hard to come by. So we now will have a personal hygiene table. We’re also hoping to send laundry detergent home with each family.”

Donated over a six-month period, clothing is washed and ready. Distribution will be 11a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 19 at the Santiam Valley Grange, 1140 5th St., Lyons. A dressing room will be provided so children can try on clothing.

“We are hoping for a fun-filled day for the kids,” Sweeney said. “We are hoping to have hot dogs, snow cones and popcorn, which we need donations for. We’re having music and drawings for gift baskets for moms and dads, also, so they too can have some fun.”

Depending on the number of donations, a limit may be set per child. A clearance at 4-5 p.m. will take place to give away items that are left over.

“We will also have the drawings at 4 p.m.,” Sweeney said. “You don’t need to be present to win, but you might want to hang around or come back and go through the clearance.”

Sweeney said they are aware this takes place on the weekend of the Great American Eclipse.

“We hope everyone who can benefit from this will make time to come,” she said. “We want everyone, children and adults, to be comfortable at this event. If there is anything we can do for you, please ask a volunteer. All volunteers will be wearing name badges.”

There is still time to donate, especially accessories such as notepads, purses, coats, shoes and boots, organizers said.

“We are also looking for someone to donate their time to do face painting,” Sweeney said.

Volunteers aee needed for set-up, take-down and clean-up, she added.

“Without community involvement, it’s very difficult to pull this off,” Sweeney said. “Please, everybody spread the word. We want to help as many as possible, and this is for all children, pre-school through high school, in the Santiam Canyon.”

If all goes well, the event may take place again next year, she said.

“Our hope is for this to be a fun, for every child whatever age to leave the event with a smile on their face,” Sweeney said.

For information or to arrange pick-up of a donation, call Sweeney, 503-749-2149 or Smith, 503-551-6674.

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