Clothes Closet To Help Needy Students Opens At Buchanan High

A Clovis Unified{}School is attempting to bring community into the classroom.

Students and staff at Buchanan High have created a first-of-its-kind "clothes closet."

It's everything you might find in a thrift store -- jeans, shirts, shoes and sweaters. {}

Although Buchanan High is located in the midst of upscale housing, nearly 100 students in 39,040-student school district are homeless.{} There are five homeless students at Buchanan.

Administrators, students and community members huddled in December to talk about creating a closet to outfit students in need.{}

"I'm overwhelmed," said the school's principal, Ricci Ulrich. "I'm completely overwhelmed but we know we have lots of things that we just discard everyday. And why not recycle and reuse and put clothing on people's backs?"

Allie Knutsen is one of several students who helped get the closet organized.{}

"For the past couple of Monday's we've been going through clothes and sorting them and putting flyers around school," She said. "And now we have a lot of stuff."

Tina Tenyenhuis{}makes sure students who visit the closet do it in private.{}{}

"Sometimes the students feel comfortable enough to work with me directly and they can come over with me and work through finding what we need or getting them what they need if we don't have it here right now."

In other cases, Tenyenhuis said, counselors put in clothing requests and she fills the order.

Avonlea Manibog, a Buchanan High graduate, has made the closet part of her community service project for the{} upcoming Miss Clovis Pageant.{}

"I would like to take this not only district-wide but also statewide and possibly nationally," she said. "I feel that communities should really reach out more to help everyone."

But the need doesn't end with students. Buchanan's Clothes Closet is trying to help their families too.

Dina Manibog says community support has been phenomenal.{}{}

"Neighbors became involved, church members became involved and in a matter of two months this is what we now have."

By the end of school, creators of the closet hope it looks a lot less like a classroom and more like a clothing shop.

How to Help

Buchanan is collecting clothes, shoes and toiletries. Drop-off boxes have been placed on the high school campus.{} The school closet also needs hangars, shelving and clothing racks.