This fall Megan Sanchez, a parent at Washington School, suggested holding a clothing drive to help local families. Washington School social worker Lindsey Doetch saw the drive as an opportunity to support families and collaborate with high school students. During October and November, Doetch and Sanchez led efforts to collect clothing, while Harvard High School’s life skills teacher, Jenna Merkling, worked with students to wash and sort the donated clothing.
Volunteer staff from Washington School and Merkling’s students distributed the clothing at a resource fair held in late November. Doetch said, “Families were in most need of warm clothing. We had many winter coats, sweaters, and warm pants that went quickly.” At the fair, students helped attendees select clothing.
The fair also offered a venue to share community resources. Organizations including Harvard Diggins Library, Brown Bear Daycare, the Diaper Bank of Northern Illinois, Options and Advocacy for McHenry County, Live4Lali, Headstart, Rosecrance, Mercy Health, Aunt Martha’s, and the Youth and Family Center of McHenry all joined the event. Thanks to the partnership between Brown Bear and the Diaper Bank, volunteers signed up multiple families in need of diapers for their children.
The donations provided vital clothing for over 100 individuals. Based on the positive feedback from families and staff, Doetch plans to expand the event to include more resources and benefit more families. “We plan on doing a needs assessment with our families,” Doetch said, “to get a better picture of what our families need most.”