There are over 1.5 million nonprofit organizations registered in the United States. This leaves Cards for Causes with no shortage of charities to donate to, and over the course of 12 years donating 20% of our custom greeting card sales to charitable organizations, we’ve connected with thousands of individuals and groups making big differences in their communities. The goal of our Charity Spotlight is to take a closer at the ways in which these organizations help others each day, and to recognize the hardworking, selfless people who power them forward.
For most children whose families struggle to afford new clothes at the beginning of the school year, options are limited to hand-me-downs or whatever they happen to receive in donations. As a volunteer at her local elementary school, Marie Bouchard McClung came face-to-face with the unfortunate reality that many kids lack quality clothing capable of protecting them from the elements and withstanding the wear-and-tear of the school day.
Struck by the profound need, Bouchard McClung envisioned a store that would allow underprivileged children to shop for high-quality clothing of their own choosing. The key difference between this and a conventional store is that all items would be free of charge.
In 2003, the first Clothes To Kids store opened its doors in Dunedin, Florida, with Bouchard McClung and co-founder Jode Frisbie Eye at the helm. Today, there are seven Clothes To Kids locations in five states. A typical day sees 25 to 30 kids pass through the doors at each location, and the organization has provided over 140,000 wardrobes in its history.
Providing outfits at no cost is only part of Clothes To Kids’ mission. The organization also strives to create a shopping experience rivaling that of any retail store, an experience some of its customers are getting for the first time. An inventory of high-quality, exciting clothing that appeals to a wide variety of tastes is essential to making the store special.
“We partner with faith communities, civic organizations, corporations, and businesses for clothing drives,” said Jennifer Jacobs, development director at Clothes To Kids. “We have a phenomenal relationship with area school districts. Guidance counselors and social workers help us spread the word. We also work closely with area agencies and the faith community.”
For many Clothes To Kids shoppers, a trip to the store is the very first chance to pick out clothing without worrying about price. Shopping trips are by appointment only so that each child can get the individualized attention they deserve. Fashion is an important form of self-expression, and Clothes To Kids empowers children to express themselves in new, liberating ways.
“One little girl was shopping with her mom and found the perfect little yellow dress with pink and purple butterflies on it. She ran to her mom, showing her the tag, and asked, ‘Can we afford this one?’ The mom was able to say to her little girl, ‘Honey, we can afford everything in this store.’”
Looking ahead to the future, Clothes To Kids hopes to increase the number of children and families it serves at its Tampa location in 2019. The 14th annual Clothes Matter Luncheon, a major fundraising event for the stores, is set to take place April 4.
To learn more about Clothes To Kids, visit their website. Please consider making a donation to Clothes To Kids through your next purchase of custom greeting cards through Cards for Causes.