When students at Douglass Elementary School in KCKPS return to in-person learning this spring, they will be welcomed by their excited school staff and the support of a community that lovingly collected 85 boxes of children’s clothing and shoes and three racks of winter coats and jackets.

“We have many young people with very few clothing items,” explained Mrs. Maquita Wells, Douglass social worker. “They are able to come meet with me and kind of shop if necessary.”

She noted that Gotta Have HOPE (GHH), a nonprofit organization in Stillwell, KS, is one of the school’s long-time community partners. The nonprofit collected clothing and shoes both in the fall and again in February. The Douglass clothing drive was facilitated by Mrs. Joyce Feder at GHH and Matthew Miller, a senior at St. James Academy.

Mrs. Wells added that GHH has a lot of support from neighbors in the Stillwell community. As volunteer coordinator, Matthew reached out to his school, St. Michael the Archangel Parish, and LE Dance Studio for support. Twenty volunteers sorted and boxed clothing donated by approximately 100 families. GHH also connected with Display Studios, Inc. to store donations until Douglass Elementary could prepare for the emergency clothing closet. Display Studios helped deliver the donations as well.

“Mrs. Feder wants to be a blessing to others,” said Mrs. Wells. “I really appreciate the hard work and dedication put in by Gotta Have HOPE.”