Thanks to the ingenuity and giving spirit of one local couple, 60 children have new outfits to wear to school.
Jack and Barbara Gooch, founders of Kaitie’s Closet, along with several volunteers, set up their first clothing giveaway at Frontier Elementary School several weeks ago.
A group of in-need kindergarten through fifth-graders browsed through racks and a dozen tables of donated clothes, picking out several outfits to fit their tastes. Parents were allowed to pick out outfits for themselves and other children not present.
The Gooches started Kaitie’s Closet just one month earlier in memory of their beloved granddaughter, Kaitie, who died unexpectedly in October.
After Kaitie’s death, the Gooches dreamed they could put Kaitie’s clothes to good use by donating them to school-age children in need. Soon after donating Kaitie’s clothing, the Gooches realized there were a lot more children who could benefit from the program.
Hoping to gather enough clothes to cover a few dozen children, Jack said they have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the community.
Since placing donation bins around town, contributions have been pouring in.
Ponderosa Baptist Church donated half a trailer full of clothing left over from a rummage sale, and residents have donated bags and bags of everything from infant to adult clothing.
“I haven’t had time to go through everything,” Jack joked.
While they are not short on clothing donations, Jack said Kaitie’s Closet desperately needs monetary donations to cover laundering costs in addition to new clothing costs, including socks and underwear.
Every month, Kaitie’s Closet will hold another giveaway event at a local school. The next is being held in mid-May at Payson Elementary School and in July, the Gooches plan to hold a big giveaway at the middle school.
Extra teen and adult clothing is donated to Payson Community Kids and the Time Out Shelter.
To donate clothing, drop off gently used items in the collection boxes at Frontier, Payson and Julia Randall Elementary Schools, Rim Country Middle School, Alltel, Beeline Business Equipment, Payson Physical Therapy, Scoops Ice Cream and Espresso, Tiny’s Family Restaurant and at the Gooches’ home, located at 304 W. Corral Drive.
For more information, to donate or volunteer, call Jack at (928) 468-1036.