By KATIE JUSTICE, firstname.lastname@example.org
Spring cleaning is coming early this year, with some West Jackson Middle School students asking community members to clean out their closets for a good cause.
The WJMS Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) is hosting a clothing drive through next Thursday, Jan. 31. The clothes collected will be donated to local homeless shelters and TeensForJeans, an effort to provide the 1.7 million homeless teens with their number one request from shelters – a pair of jeans.
“The students are so excited about the chance to make a positive impact in their community,” said WJMS teacher and FCCLA advisor Lara Komanecky. “The students’ goals are simply to help the local homeless shelters as much as possible. This is also a wonderful opportunity for the students to hone their leadership skills and be a positive influence in their school community.”
Eighth grader and FCCLA president Sandie Gaskins is the girl behind the clothing drive. Gaskins has been working on a year-long community service project to benefit the homeless.
“I don’t think the homeless get enough attention from students, and the clothing drive brings awareness,” said Gaskins.
While preparing for Gaskins’ clothing drive, Komanecky was approached by a parent who had learned of TeensForJeans.
“Lianne Daniel happened to contact me to tell me about a clothing drive being put on by the clothing store Aeropostale — for each pair of jeans a student turns in, Aeropostale will give the student a 25 percent off coupon for a new pair,” said Komanecky. “Lianne’s son Chase, a student in my Family and Consumer Science class, also contacted me about getting involved with some FCCLA community service projects, so this worked out perfectly.”
Thus, Sandie Gaskins’ and Chase Daniel’s ideas were combined into one big event. Jeans collected will be turned into Aeropostale and coupons will be given in return to students. All other clothes will be donated to local homeless shelters.
WJMS will be accepting donations of clothing between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. throughout the length of the drive.
“Our community should reach out and donate because of the huge number of people that can benefit from the rest of us cleaning out our closets,” said Komanecky. “The benefit of these items is immeasurable. Also, Aeropostale, as part of their Teens4Jeans program, is giving a $10,000 grant to the school that collects the most jeans. That money would benefit every child in our school.”
Jackson Middle School is located at 400 Gum Springs Church Road in Jefferson.
For any questions or additional information, e-mail Komanecky at email@example.com.