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Clothe a Child seeks volunteers to make October events a success
Old enough to drive? Enjoy shopping? Love to help children?
Clothe a Child is seeking such volunteers to help children in the Little Elm, Frisco and Prosper areas shop for new clothes at Kohl's for three Saturdays in October. The only requirement to volunteer is to be at least 16 years old or older.
"[Volunteering] is meeting all the different people and having an opportunity to talk to them," said Patricia Wilson, director of the Little Elm and Prosper area. "We really use this opportunity to witness to [families] about their spiritual life."
The volunteer-run program plans to provide 2,700 local children between kindergarten and eighth grade this year with new school clothes. To do that, they need 1,250 volunteers-so far, only 586 have signed up.
Shopping event days will be held at 6 a.m. this Saturday, Oct. 6 and on Oct. 13 for children in Frisco ISD and on Oct. 27 for children in Little Elm and Prosper ISDs. Volunteers can choose to participate in one or more event days.
"A lot of them volunteer for all three," Wilson said.
In its first year in Frisco, more than 200 children were clothed. Last year, more than 2,000 children were given clothes.
"We have [the program] based on the free and reduced lunch program, so that need has grown within the school districts so that makes our need grow," Wilson said.
With the need growing every year, an estimated amount of 3,800 Frisco children, 2,150 Little Elm children and 722 Prosper children qualify for the program.
On shopping day, Clothe a Child provides each child a voucher for $100 to Kohl's and a volunteer to help them shop for clothes. Each family is matched with a specific volunteer for the entire shopping experience. Volunteers are needed for only a few hours.
"Most of our volunteers get back in line [after helping a family]," Wilson said. "They can do that as many times as they want to so that's a pretty exciting time in itself."
Volunteers will arrive at Kohl's at staggered times starting at 5:45 a.m. to get ready for the families' arrival; refreshments will be provided to both volunteers and families waiting for the doors to open at 6 a.m. Volunteers will get to know the family they are paired up with and help them shop, keeping within the amount given.
First-time volunteers must attend one orientation meeting, which are encouraged for returning volunteers as well. Volunteer orientation meetings will provide participants with more information about the event day and will have Clothe a Child t-shirts for sale at $10 each.
Meetings for Little Elm and Prosper churches will start at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 21 at CrossRidge Church, 1701 Walker Lane in Little Elm and at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 23 at Lighthouse Church, 4331 East Prosper Trail in Prosper.
To volunteer, visit www.clotheachildfrisco.com.
Clothe a Child first began in 1989 by Dr. Lawrence Kennedy from the North Church in Carrollton. The program came to Frisco in 2003 before expanding to Little Elm in 2008 and Prosper in 2011. The program partners with local school districts, churches and businesses.
The school district identifies children through the free and reduced lunch program and with the help of school counselors. The program chooses children from families with the greatest needs first, meaning families who make $10,000 or less per year are chosen first before going through the rest of the qualifications.
There is a limit of three children per family for qualification. However, if a family has five children but only three qualify, they can bring all of the children and use the voucher money of $300 total for the three qualified children to shop for all five of the children.
The organization is also in need of donations. All of the funds donated go directly to clothing children in the area and are tax-deductible. Donations will be taken until the very end.
"Donations are needed for sure," Wilson said.
Donations are accepted through churches by writing "Clothe a Child" in the memo of the church donation slip, or by mailing a check to Clothe a Child Frisco at 5426 Shoshone Drive, Frisco, TX, 75034.
Or, donate via credit card through PayPal on the organization's website at www.clotheachildfrisco.com, which charges a 3-percent fee for donations processed through credit cards.
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