Volunteers operate District 15's Community Clothing Closet to help families in need
Palatine Township Elementary District 15 Superintendent Scott Thompson says he's thankful for some "humble servants" volunteering to help provide clothing at no cost to less-fortunate families.
District 15's Gray M. Sanborn Elementary School in Palatine is where families in need may visit the Community Clothing Closet, operated by Palatine Assisting Through Hope.
It operates like a thrift store two evenings each month in Sanborn School's basement, with clients using vouchers provided by district social workers for the free clothes in sizes infant through adult. Donations come from Palatine and other communities served by District 15.
Palatine residents Debbie Rohrwasser, Lisa Bailey, Jenny Spethmann and Ramona Tyack are the volunteers in charge of the Community Clothing Closet. The women are part of the nonprofit Palatine Assisting Through Hope, also known as PATH.
Thompson said he appreciates the many hours the four women spend on trying to make sure that children in need have proper clothing to get through winter in particular.
"We are extremely grateful for their compassionate service," Thompson said. "They are humble servants making a difference in our community."
Tyack said while it's time consuming being in charge of the Community Clothing Closet, she and the other PATH volunteers encounter many situations that make the volunteer endeavor pleasurable. The district's Northwest Suburban Council of PTA/PTSA provides some volunteers to help PATH.
"Whether it's a teenager finding exactly what they wanted and being excited for finding that perfect blouse or perfect pair of shoes, that's what makes it all worthwhile, is helping the families find stuff that they otherwise maybe wouldn't have been able to receive," Tyack said.
Tyack said PATH can use more volunteers, because the organization plans to expand the Community Clothing Closet's hours next year. Those who are interested in volunteering may visit path-palatine.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
She said the families who visit try to give back in their own way. Most recently, she said, a woman noticed a bag of clothes that needed to be placed in racks.
"So, when she found something, she replenished her hangers with the clothes from underneath," Tyack said.
Donations are accepted at Community Clothing Closet boxes at all District 15 schools. The greatest needs are for children's garments, winter coats, boots and snow pants. All clothing should be washed or in clean condition without rips or broken zippers.