By Diamond Richardson
MISSION, Texas – Many children across the Rio Grande Valley welcomed additions to their wardrobe thanks to the 14th annual Shareable Wearables clothing drive, hosted by Buckner International April 11-15. Rio Grande Valley area schools also participated in a competition to see who could collect the most clothes in May.
“I would say over 500 children benefited from the clothes donated during the drive this year,” said Monica Skrzypinski, development officer for Buckner.
[caption id="attachment_3714" align="alignright" width="200"] Volunteers sort clothes donated the Shareable Wearables clothing drive, hosted annually by Buckner. The drive collects clothes for children in the Rio Grande Valley.[/caption]
First National Bank and Channel 5 News sponsored the drive. Donations could be dropped off at any First National Bank branch in the Valley area. First National Bank also contacted partner banks in the north Texas area to collect clothes, and the bank transported clothes to the Rio Grande Valley.
Channel 5 filmed a promotional video for the drive. The news station also hosted live interviews on the final day of the drive to publicize the event, helping make this year’s drive one of the most successful in the past 14 years, Skrzypinski said.
“The turnout this year was amazing. We started interviews on Channel 5 at 5 a.m. and by 6 a.m. we already had a lot of clothes,” Skrzypinski said. “First National Bank gave gifts to the first five people to come to the Channel 5 studio and donate clothes, and the gifts were gone within the first hour.”
[caption id="attachment_3716" align="alignleft" width="200"] Students at The Oratory School in Pharr, Texas helped organize an on-campus Shareable Wearables drive and won an award for collecting the most clothing of all participating schools in the Rio Grande Valley.[/caption]
Schools participating in the collection competition decorated bins and placed them around their campus. Each school had one week to collect the clothes. The school that collected the most clothes in the east and west regions of the Rio Grande Valley received 100 backpacks filled with school supplies. Winners this year were The Oratory School in Pharr, Texas and Garriga Elementary in Port Isabel, Texas.
“It is so important to get the kids involved in collecting clothes so that they learn the importance of giving,” said Roger Marcelino, STAR program supervisor for Buckner, who coordinated this year’s drive. “Like it says in the Word, it is better to give than to receive.”
Clothes were sorted at the Buckner warehouse and distributed with help from partnering housing authorities and community centers in the area, Marcelino said.
“Without this drive, many of the children in this area would not be able to attend school with clothes they can feel good in,” Skrzypinski said. “It sounds silly to relate clothes to performance in school, but it really does impact the education these kids are getting. When children have nice clothes they do not have to worry about not fitting in, they can just focus on school.”
To learn more about the ways you can help children with new clothing through Buckner, contact Buckner Foundation at 214-758-8000. To learn more about the Shareable Wearables clothing drive, please contact Roger Marcelino at firstname.lastname@example.org.