This past winter was one of the coldest that I have seen since moving to Florida. Temperatures dipped below freezing at night and were frigid during the day. My usual sweater was not enough for the cold and I found myself layering up more than usual. Not everyone had the means to layer, though. I came across an article in the newspaper about school children who came to class wrapped in blankets, or skipped school altogether because their families could not afford warm clothing. Assessing the situation from the outside, one might think we were living in a poverty stricken, third world country. With so many resources available here, there was no reason why children should go without a necessity as basic as a jacket. What was probably more appalling was the lack of community support. When tragedies occur in other countries, we don’t give a second thought to opening our wallets to help. Children right here in our country can go without, and a blind eye is often turned to them. I couldn’t sleep at night in my warm bed without putting some effort into helping better the plight of these kids. I sat up with a pen and pad and several cups of tea later, I had an idea. Why not set up a “boutique” in the school where children could come to get gently used clothing?
I made a list of ideas and put them together into one: Sabina’s Closet. Sabina’s closet would provide new and gently used clothing, toiletries, and after school snacks to schools in poverty stricken areas. The items would be collected via donations and the students would receive vouchers to spend in the store. My focus for now is on one school in particular, having the highest percentage of homeless students of all elementary schools in the county. The words “homeless” and “Student” should never have an opportunity to be used in a sentence together, yet they accurately describe a quarter of the entire student body.
You may wonder about the name I chose for the organization and I think it is a story worth sharing. When I was pregnant with my youngest child, my husband and I ended up with a sizable amount of unexpected expenses. There were so many things that needed to be taken care of immediately, and we had not yet purchased more than a car seat for our son. As my delivery date came closer, I was still unprepared for the baby’s arrival. A girl I worked with had a son who was a few months old and had outgrown many of his clothes before he even got a chance to wear them. She was happy to hear that I was having a boy, and asked if I wouldn’t mind taking some things off her hands. The next day I came to work to find an enormous box on my desk, filled to the top with neatly folded sleepers, onesies, hats socks, jackets and outfits. Being super hormonal, I had a tough time fighting back tears. This woman I barely knew was completely unaware of my situation at the time. I can never find words that would sufficiently describe how grateful I was for her generosity. I eventually lost touch with this woman named Sabina, but I couldn’t think of a better way to pay her kindness forward than to use her name to do for other people what she did for me. I hope that with the assistance of others, I can help school children whose families find themselves in a financially stressful situation.