As temperatures begin to drop, students in Northshore School District will need warm coats, boots and pants to stay dry while traveling to and from school.

Threads & Treads, a free clothing bank at Canyon Park Middle School, has a mission to provide support and resources for families throughout the district. 

“Our mission is to make things a little easier for families by providing them clothing so they can use that money toward other things,” said Kelly Hennessey, president of Canyon Park PTSA.

When the pandemic first closed down schools and businesses, she said, Threads & Treads shut down as well because school administrators were still working out COVID-19 protocols. After seeing other organizations start to reopen, she sent an email to Superintendent Michelle Reid about providing the program again.

“I said that families were even more impacted now because some people were not working and may not be collecting paychecks, so the hardship is even worse,” she said.

In the beginning of April 2020, the program opened its doors again at Canyon Park Middle School in the portables alongside the gym. Several families told her they were happy to see that the resource was available again, Hennessey said.

“We just mimicked what a lot of businesses started doing,” she said. “We wanted to still be there for our community and our families in the school district, so we made it work.”

Threads & Treads volunteers put in place processes and procedures to make sure families could visit the clothing bank safely, like wearing face masks. Outside of the program’s building, Hennessey said, there is a covered walkway so volunteers could set up tables with clothing to limit the number of people in the building while providing more shopping space.

“There's only been two Wednesdays since this pandemic started that we couldn't have stuff outside,” she said.

Hennessey said another key part of operating the program is making sure there are enough clothing donations.

“All of our clothing that we have comes from donations,” she said. “We don't go out and buy stuff so that was a concern of what we would do.”

She said most secondhand stores stopped accepting donations during the pandemic, which led to community members dropping off items to Threads & Treads in droves. The increase in donations brought more awareness to those who did not know the program existed, Hennessey added.

Regardless, she said the program is constantly in need of new socks and underwear.

Threads & Treads provides students with three pairs of socks and three pairs of underwear every month, which usually totals more than $1,000 a week, Hennessey noted.

Several donations contain underwear for children, Hennessey said. However, students in middle school and high school mostly wear adult sizes.

Pajamas are also desired, she noted, especially as temperatures continue to drop.

“We want to make sure our families are staying warm and dry,” Hennessey said.

Those wanting to make donations can drop off items at the clothing bank on Wednesdays from 2:30 to 6 p.m.

Another way to contribute to Threads & Treads is by volunteering, Hennessey said. The program accepts both students and adults, and the Northshore School District requires volunteers to be vaccinated. 

People interested in volunteering can sign up on the program’s website at cpptsa.org/programs-activities/threads-treads/

“When you’re working, sorting and getting the store ready, you get to be social with each other and serve our community,” Hennessey said.

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