KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – New shoes and a new outfits to wear on the first day of school could be things many of us take for granted, as not every family can afford brand-new.
To help the Knox County Schools system, they have a resource that’s been operating for more than 70 years: A Clothing Center located in the old Sears building.
Staffers say more than 2,000 students are helped every year through the center. Families are referred through the students’ teacher, principal, school secretary, school counselor or social worker.
“Everybody that comes in here gets two new pairs of jeans, three new tee-shirts, five new pair of underwear, and five new pair of socks,” said staffer Pat Johnson.
Each student can visit the center for clothing two times during the school year – once per semester – with children ranging from preschool to 12th grade.
“I love my job. I’ve done it a long time and I just pray everyday that I’ve touched somebody’s life,” said Johnson.
Staffers say they have clothing from size 4 to size 68, because children come in all sizes.
Johnson says when the Clothing Center opened years ago, much of the clothing was sewn by students’ mothers, but now donations come from people in the community and area businesses.
“I think that we have helped a tremendous amount of kids over the years with their self esteem and just looking like everybody else in the classroom,” she added.
How you can help
The Clothing Center accepts new and gently used clean clothing in any size and from anyone. They cannot accept used shoes, socks or underwear.
Please deliver in bags no larger than 13 gallon (kitchen bags). Clothing can be donated Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. throughout the school year.
The Clothing Center is located at 1000 N. Central St, Suite 7. For more information on donating or ways to help, click here.