ANDERSON, Ind. — With a large free and reduced lunch population, there are many families in need of assistance in Anderson Community Schools.
Aiming to help families needing aid in purchasing school uniform items, the Parent Advisory Council (PAC) of ACS is teaming with local churches to provide districtwide resources.
Every school already has its own small clothes closet, but beginning Oct. 1, both Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church, 1610 Sheridan St., and First Church of the Nazarene, 23rd and Jackson streets, will be utilized as centralized locations for parents.
Each church has had a clothes closet for nearly 10 years and will continue to carry items besides uniform appropriate wear, but those who want to help ACS families can now make clothing donations at the two locations.
“The biggest thing is we want to help families,” said Cammie Slaven, PAC president. “There is definitely a need for it.”
Principal Scott Merkel said Erskine Elementary’s social worker and dean run its clothes closet, typically seeing one or two students a day.
In many cases, it’s because a child just doesn’t have clean clothes for the day or doesn’t have the needed item, he said, adding it can also be a disciplinary issue.
“We receive lots of donated little pieces here and there,” he said. “We tend to give out quite a bit.”
If the child needs the item, he or she may keep it, Merkel said. If not, the clothing can be returned the next day, washed and handed out again later.
He added that a centralized location for families will assist those who are struggling financially. At the schools, he said, they just don’t have enough to give out to help everyone.
There are other events, such as the annual Back to School Festival at Shadyside Park, that aim to help ACS parents with school supplies, but Slaven said the clothes closet has been wanted for a while.