The Problem: Students in our schools are struggling now more than ever from problems caused by situational poverty. These problems affecting our students range from living in unstable environments, homelessness, and access to resources. The Giving Closet Project aims to address some of the most basic problems that our students and schools face through simple, effective solutions. One of the most crippling problems school districts face across the country is poverty. Lack of resources, whether it is food, school supplies, hygiene products or clothing, has a detrimental impact on not only a student’s academic success, but also their social, emotional, and behavioral growth. A major problem Northeast Florida schools have reported is a dysfunctional or forgotten lost and found system to serve its students. Personal belongings are lost daily and a majority of schools do not have the capacity to face the ever-growing piles of “stuff”. These lost items could be utilized to meet the needs of students living in situational poverty. The Giving Closet Project was developed out of the desire to help schools revitalize their lost and found into successful donation centers for our students in need through the community. While investigating school lost and found procedures, The Giving Closet Project learned that unclaimed lost and found items are often either thrown away or donated to a thrift store to be resold. It quickly became clear that with a little support, schools could not only transform their lost and founds, but also recycle unclaimed items back into their school community. The GCP is the help schools need to launder clothes, identify students in need, and donate items to those students.
Poverty can also have an impact on a student’s hygiene and personal well-being. The Giving Closet Project is the creation of teachers, who see first-hand the negative effect poor hygiene can have on a child’s success in school. We can help combat this problem through school Kare Kits: packaged supplies for student hygiene and health needs: deodorant, toothpaste, a toothbrush, baby wipes, sanitary napkins and more.
Schools and students also face the barrier of acquiring proper schools supplies. Many students and their families are unable to afford the necessary materials for their students. When students come to school unprepared, teachers often use their own money to purchase the missing supplies. The GCP helps students, families, and teachers with Success Sacks: kits containing all the necessary supplies for one student to bring to school and be fully prepared.
Through these initiatives, The Giving Closet Project aims to solve common problems in education, transform schools, improve student success and strengthen communities.