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CHS students focus on homeless with unique clothing drive

Three students from Claremont High School are leading a “Teens for Jeans” campaign as part of the Fairplex Junior Fair Board team. Seniors Kate DesCombes and Dakota Zuccioni along with Junior Sasha Hough represent CHS as part of this clothing drive.

The number one item requested at homeless shelters is a pair of jeans. With one in 3 homeless people in the United States being under the age of 18, the “Teens for Jeans” campaign encourages young people to donate their good denim to help teens and children in need.

“I hope people are willing to donate when they see the worth of this donation and the impact it could make in someone’s life,” Ms. DesCombes said. “My personal goal is not so much a number to bring in, its more that people respond well to this cause.”

The organizers have been working hard since the Junior Board’s team was created earlier this month. The three CHS students are determined to exceed expectations and reach out to the community as well.

The original program started with only 1,000 students participating. Now the “Teens for Jeans” collections cover half of all high schools in the United States.

In 2011, more than 12,000 schools in the US, Puerto Rico and Canada participated and helped gather a million pairs of jeans in four weeks. To date the program has provided almost 3.3 million pairs of jeans to over 1,000 shelters in the US. The jeans collected in 2013 clothed almost half of the children and teens that are experiencing homelessness, according to DoSomething.org.

CHS is no stranger to collection drives. Every year different clubs on campus host can and clothing drives to benefit those in need. The Associated Student Body’s “Pennies for Patients” collected about $3,000 dollars in change in just two weeks.

To encourage student participation, a contest will be held for the clubs on campus to see who can collect the most pairs of jeans from their members. The winners will receive $50 from ASB’s charity account.

“When you get that data thrown at you it’s a little bit overwhelming. But it is inspirational,” Jack Harper, activities director at Claremont High School said.

While most of the school’s annual events are planned at least a month in advance, this drive is more spontaneous since Ms. DesCombes came to ASB January 10 with the proposal. For the past week Mr. Harper has been helping ASB prepare for when they begin collecting pairs of jeans.

“Knowing that the jeans are going to kids in our area is huge. So many people take jeans for granted, a lot of us have more than one pair of jeans in or closets and drawers and these kids are asking for just one pair,” Manager of Education at Career and Technical Education Center Margie Shamblin said.

When the Junior Board heard about the number of teens who were homeless the number struck a chord and they decided to take action. The team set the goal of 300 pairs to collect from the high schools, but Ms. Shamblin suspects they may have already surpassed that number.

Once the deadline has passed, the jeans will be taken to the Montclair Plaza Aeropostale location. The store will give the jeans to shelters in the area such as: Pomona First Baptist, I Care shelter home and Union Rescue Mission.

All pairs of jeans will be accepted as long as they are in good condition with no rips or tears. There is a demand for larger sizes, but all sizes for any age group will be accepted as a donation. The program cannot accept jean skirts or shorts.

Collection began on Thursday, January 16 and will end Friday, January 31.

There are two drop-off locations available. Students are encouraged to drop-off their jeans at Claremont High School to a box located outside the ASB office. Community members should look for a drop-off area at the Hughes Community Center at 1700 Danbury Rd.

—Christina Collins Burton

storribio@claremont-courier.com

 

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