Lincoln High School junior Adelyna Cruz is one of the students who assists in the clothes closet.

Lincoln High School junior Adelyna Cruz is one of the students who assists in the clothes closet.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Clothes closet has something in store for students

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published March 1, 2024

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WARREN — The Lincoln High School clothes closet is open for business.

Stocked with gently used clothing, shoes, accessories, personal hygiene products and books, the store — located near the cafeteria — is open during lunch for students.

Donations have come from the public, and all the items are free. Lincoln is part of the Van Dyke Public Schools district. When the clothes closet first opened, it was rather basic looking on the inside and wasn’t attracting many students. So the spacious room underwent a transformation.

“We’ve made it like a showroom so it’s more inviting,” social worker Glynis Dale said. “We want this to be a welcoming place.”

Students in special education teacher John McCabe’s Transition Program run and operate the clothes closet. According to McCabe, the clothing closet was developed prior to the 2019-2020 school year for students in the program. The purpose was to provide a place for families in the district to access clothes and small household items.

Students in the Transition Program are responsible for taking in donations, washing and drying, sorting and sizing before putting clothes out on display. Through this, students are learning vocational readiness skills while also providing a service to their community.

The donated attire has included everything: sneakers, dress slacks, blouses, jeans and evening gowns. Dale said one of the most popular items among the students is hooded sweatshirts. The clothes hang neatly on racks, and shoes are displayed in an organized manner. Adelyna Cruz is one of the students who assists in the clothes closet.

“I walk around and help kids feel comfortable. I’ll give them a few options,” the 11th grade student said. “I like doing this because some kids might need help. Some kids are pretty happy when they have a full bag (of clothes).”

When Cruz showed up for duty Feb. 27, she handed a small bag of donations to Dale that a community member dropped off.

“This happens a lot,” Dale said of the continuous donations the school receives. “We have a lot of community support. One of our parents came back with prom dresses. We have friends who have supported us with a variety of items.”

One thing the clothes closet is missing is an official name.

“I want you to name this shop,” Dale told Cruz. “This is your space.”

Since the clothes closet is used by the high school students, organizers have opened up another room filled with children’s and adult clothing and toys. While the room is open, it’s still undergoing updates, including the formation of a dressing room. The goal is to make the room available for families districtwide.

Friends on a Mission to Serve, of which Dale is a member, has been instrumental in providing donations, revamping and organizing the clothes closet. The school’s resource officer, Sandra Herden, assisted by securing clothing donations from her club, Jeep Babes.

Along with the clothing donations, organizers are looking for items to help keep the clothes closet open. They’re in need of 10 heavy-duty clothing racks, five shoe racks, a washing machine and dryer, mirrors and artwork to decorate the store’s walls.

Also needed are mannequins, male and female hoodies sizes medium to 3X, socks, hygiene products and shelving. To make a donation, contact John McCabe at or (586) 758-8307, or Glynis Dale at or (586) 758-8307.