Shenandoah sophomore Hannah Mulligan & teacher Kelsey Heintz.

What started with a student’s generosity has developed into a new locker room of sorts at Shenandoah High School.

A project called the “SHS Locker of Giving” is making clothing items available to high school students who need them. Shenandoah sophomore Hannah Mulligan created the program after she started trying to purge her closet at home.

“I have way too many clothes,” Mulligan says. “We were sorting through my clothes, and I said, ‘Mom, I don’t need half of this stuff.’ She said, ‘All right, do you want to donate it to one of my friend’s granddaughters?’ And, I said, ‘Mom, what if we started a program that we could donate our clothes to students who might be able to get those at home?'”

After talking to the Shenandoah school superintendent, Mulligan decided to seek donations of not only clothing items, but coats and prom dresses. “What if someone isn’t able to afford a prom dress at the time?” Mulligan asks. “Then, we could have part of our Google classroom be having prom dresses or homecoming dresses. Or, maybe you just couldn’t get out and get a winter coat for the season. We could offer you those for no charge at all.”

With the help of instructors, administrators and students, donations have been flowing into the locker. Kelsey Heintz, the high school’s Life Skills, Special Ed and Health instructor, says the project has helped her Life Skills students with learning important skills, such as washing and folding the donated clothes.

“It has definitely helped with the washing of clothes,” said Heintz. “We’re learning how to sort between colors and whites, and not filling our washer too full. That way, we don’t have overflow.” Heintz says the students are also learning about sorting clothes: “That’s something that we are definitely learning, because when they are at home, they actually don’t have to sort their clothes by size. So, that’s kind of something new to them. But, that’s something I hope will help them if they do get a job in retail, to help them sort clothes there.”

Donations to the Locker of Giving are still being accepted, but Mulligan says there are guidelines. “We don’t want anything that’s too, what we might call ‘summer clothing,’ and we wouldn’t want anything with tears, rips, stains or overworn clothing,” Mulligan says. “We’re open to any sizes that would fit a 9th through 12th grader. So, no youth sizes quite yet. We haven’t moved down to the middle school or elementary.”

Other wanted items include shoes, scarves and other accessories. All clothing items are made available to students anonymously.

(Story & photo by Mike Peterson, KMA, Shenandoah)