This month’s Mercer Savings Bank Giving Mission recipient is the Celina High School Caring Closet.
The Caring Closet provides a free, confidential way for students in need to receive clothing, hygiene items, food, school supplies, and more.
Starting the Caring Closet
Although the closet existed before the pandemic in a smaller capacity, school counselor Ethan Knopp says COVID-19 spurred it to its current size.
“Once we kind of got the vibe [in spring 2020] that school was going to be shut down and we were basically not going to see our kids for the rest of the year, that was a red flag for us. For some students, unfortunately, the only steady meal that they get might come from school,” said Knopp.
“So we put some backpacks together with toiletry items and with some of the food items that we had here. And from there, it kind of took off.”
Supporting Students in Need
Today, when counselors meet with students, they can determine when a student might benefit from using the closet and let them choose the items they need.
“We work with a lot of kids and can get a feel for if they could benefit from a trip to the closet. We can get an idea of what their home situation may be like, and if a parent loses a job or money is tight, then we make that available to them. We can kind of bridge the gap for them or do what we can to help things out at home,” said Knopp.
Student drives and community donations help keep the closet stocked throughout the school year. Knopp estimated that a student per day, sometimes more, uses the closet.
How to Support the CHS Caring Closet
Knopp said he was appreciative of Mercer Savings Bank’s support of the Caring Closet — and the money will be put to good use.
“Most of it will likely be used to purchase clothing for the closet,” he said. “We have some clothing currently, but we aren’t able to provide a lot of different sizes and things like that with regularity. This will be able to allow us to do that, which will be awesome.”
Community members who are interested in learning more or donating to the closet may contact Ethan Knopp or another counselor by calling 419-586-8300 .