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Lake Oswego Junior High boys support Tigard's Caring Closet

Lake Oswego Junior High boys support Tigard's Caring Closet

SUBMITTED PHOTO: ROSE MONEY - Four of the boys who made the clothing drive for Caring Closet such a success were, from the left, Carter Daniels, Caden Saefke, Jake Daniels and Jackson SaefkeRose Money will take all the compassion she can muster at the nonprofit Caring Closet she directs in Tigard — even when it involves boys and underwear.

“Sometimes, junior high kids, especially boys, are so silly about underwear,” Money says. “But these boys weren’t embarrassed, and I am so impressed with what they did.”

The Lake Oswego resident often meets with groups of students involved in community projects, although those groups usually come from within the Tigard-Tualatin School District. In fact, the Caring Closet is housed at Tigard High School.

So Money was a little surprised when she was contacted by Tanya Halvorson of the Lake Oswego Junior High Parents Club, who asked if the school’s students could use Caring Closet — which provides clothes, shoes, hygiene products and bedding supplies for children in need — as their designated charity.

“We decided on Caring Closet as one of our many Community Service Day sites for a few reasons,” Halvorson said. “First, Caring Closet provides an essential service, giving clothing, shoes and supplies to students in need, which helps them be best prepared for school. We also chose Caring Closet because it helps a neighboring community and it provided our students and families an introduction to an organization where they could volunteer again.”

Money was thrilled with the offer to help, and 20 LOJH students — 10 boys and 10 girls — attended a session with her on the school’s Community Service Day in December. She presented her regular program outlining Caring Closet’s services and told the students stories about people served by the charity.

“Many of our clients are homeless, and I reminded these volunteers that we are only 3.3 miles from LOJ,” she says. “Each group was very attentive and pitched in with 90 minutes of help per group, arranging clothes and cleaning shoes. The boys were so engaged.”

Indeed, the boys were so taken by the charity’s mission that they decided to continue their volunteer efforts by starting a collection drive at school. By the time they were done, they had gathered 300 pairs of underwear for the homeless — yes, underwear — which they delivered on Feb. 27.

“After we helped on the LOJ Community Service Day we realized that Caring Closet was a good organization,” said Jake Daniels, an eighth-grader. “We asked what they needed most and the answer was ‘underwear.’ That seemed like a basic necessity that everyone should have.”

LOJ sixth-grader Caden Saefke said, “I was excited to work at Caring Closet because I could help other kids feel normal with their new clothes.”

“It was unbelievable what they did,” Money says. “Three hundred pairs of underwear!”

Money says the boys’ donation will be put to good use, because the number of homeless students and their families in the Tigard-Tualatin School District is sharply rising. The charity is now assisting 240 homeless students, she says. Every school-age child referred by a school counselor can visit Caring Closet once in the fall or winter and once again in the spring.

“Oh my gosh, it has grown so much in the last couple of years,” Money says. “We’ve seen a 200 percent increase in the number of homeless students. One reason is because we’ve seen an increase in housing rates, and landlords can terminate without cause.”

Money says that’s why she’s grateful for the underwear donation, and for a promise by the boys from Lake Oswego Junior High to come back and help Caring Closet next year.

“These boys took the information they got and decided to do something about it,” Money says. “These guys came back.”

Caring Closet currently is in urgent need of gently used shoes and for gift cards to purchase shoes and socks — and underwear. All donations are tax deductible. For more information, including details on how to donate, go to ths.ttsdschools.org/pages/TigardHS/Caring_Closet or call 503-603-1576.

Contact Cliff Newell at 503-636-1281 ext. 105 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..