Warren Woods Middle School Principal Donny Sikora said donations have been received from the WWPS community, local residents, businesses and various organizations.

Warren Woods Middle School Principal Donny Sikora said donations have been received from the WWPS community, local residents, businesses and various organizations.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Warren Woods Community Clothes Closet and Pantry is now open

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published November 1, 2019

 The new Warren Woods Community Clothes Closet and Pantry opened Oct. 17 at Warren Woods Middle School.

The new Warren Woods Community Clothes Closet and Pantry opened Oct. 17 at Warren Woods Middle School.

Photo by Deb Jacques

WARREN — Members of the Warren Woods Public Schools community are helping each other in times of need.

On Oct. 17, district officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the new Warren Woods Community Clothes Closet and Pantry.

The facility is located inside Warren Woods Middle School and will provide clothing, shoes, food, personal hygiene items, school supplies and more.

“The main priority is to service our WWPS families and to help our students reach their full potential by assisting those who are struggling financially with obtaining daily necessities in a private, safe and easily accessible location,” WWMS Principal Don Sikora said in an email. “Donations have been received from the WWPS community, local residents, businesses and various organizations.”

According to Sikora, the day-to-day operations of the clothes closet and pantry are being handled by the WWMS counseling department, as overseen by school administration. Volunteers will continue the ongoing maintenance, donation processing and organization of the unit.

Any WWPS family in need of assistance can contact the WWMS counseling department or their child’s building administrator. At press time, school officials were in the process of creating an online form that families can access through the district websites.  

“They can provide us with a ‘wish list’ of items, and our team will shop for them and determine a plan for the delivery of the items,” Sikora said.

The clothes closet and food pantry is set up to be as close to a store shopping experience as possible. It has a private entrance from the counseling department so students and families who use it can remain confidential. So far, the clothes closet and pantry hours are by appointment, but soon regular hours could be added.

The clothing is stocked for students in grades K-12 and includes all sizes for both genders. There are shoes, boots, jackets, hats, scarves, gloves, hoodies, pants, shorts, shirts, dresses, belts, underwear and socks.

Toiletries include toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss, deodorant, body wash, soap, shampoo, combs, brushes, hair gel and hair spray, feminine products, shaving supplies, school supplies, backpacks, locker organizers, and shelf-stable food.

WWPS residents Fred Huebener and Kevin McAlpine, who have fostered several children and currently have one foster child in the district, have been heavily involved with the project. The foster parents began working on it after discussions they had with current Pinewood Elementary Principal Scott Keen, who previously was the WWMS assistant principal.

“While telling him about how we were regular long-term weekly volunteers at the Macomb Foster Closet in Mount Clemens, he asked us to take a look at a space they were trying to turn into a clothes closet for students in need,” according to Huebener. “He thought our experience might help, and we were already school volunteers too. After seeing it, we jumped at the opportunity and funded the project directly ourselves.”

Huebener and McAlpine purchased new shelving, brought it to the school, and assembled and installed it. They also created all the labeling, bought the bins and created the operation procedures.     

“It feels very organized,” Huebener said. “It’s really become a good thing for the whole family. All you have to do is have a student in the schools. We can arrange for parents to pick stuff up or come out and shop.

“We want the elementary school and the high school kids to use it too,” Huebener said. “If you lost your job, if your hours get cut, you’re living paycheck to paycheck and the need for your child is happening right now, you can fill it. It keeps kids focused on their academics. If a student is hungry or if a kid feels bad because his shirt is torn, he’s focused on the situation. That is impeding his academics.”

Small donations can be dropped off at either the main office or the counseling office at WWMS, 13400 E. 12 Mile Road. Arrangement for large donations to be picked up can be scheduled by emailing warrenwoodsclothescloset@gmail.com.


NEEDED ITEMS:

The following items are needed for the Warren Woods Community Clothes Closet and Pantry:
Rice and grains, pasta and pasta sauce, hot and cold cereal, soups and stews, canned proteins, vegetables and fruits, powdered or shelf-stable milk, peanut butter, soap, shampoo, bodywash, brushes, combs, toothpaste, toothbrushes, dental floss, feminine products, shaving cream, razors, cleaning wipes, deodorant and tissues.