Charity Newsies collecting clothes for kids

By Christine Bryant
Staff Writer

As the new school year is about to begin for students across central Ohio, children and parents head to stores to shop for new clothes – an end-of-summer tradition for many families.

For some, however, purchasing clothing and school uniforms can be expensive, placing a financial burden on what otherwise would be an exciting time of year.

In fact, according to Charity Newsies, lack of proper clothing is a top reason children miss school and may affect a child’s self-esteem. That’s why the central Ohio nonprofit organization is working to ensure no child goes without clothing for the school year.

“Many people think about having adequate food for children that struggle with hunger, but most people do not think about adequate clothing for children,” said Tony Perez, who serves as 1st vice president of the board and the 2016 drive chairman for the organization. “Some children may be wearing the same clothes for continuous days.”

For decades, the organization has helped income-eligible children in grades K-12 with new school clothes and uniforms. For the 2016/17 school year, members will take clothing applications at area Columbus Metropolitan Library branches every Saturday through mid-August, including from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 6 at the Hilltop branch, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 13 at the Whitehall branch and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 20 at the Livingston Branch.

Charity Newsies’ headquarters, 4300 Indianola Ave., Columbus, also will take applications from 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday through Dec. 2, and 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays beginning Aug. 8.

In addition to serving children in Columbus City Schools, the organization reaches students in the Franklin County suburbs, including Grove City, Reynoldsburg, Groveport and the Columbus Dioceses.

A volunteer purchases the clothing using monetary donations received by the organization, Perez said.

“It costs $150 to completely outfit a child with brand new clothing, including six pairs of underwear, six pairs of socks, three shirts, three pairs of jeans, a $25 voucher to Payless, winter coat, winter hat and gloves,” he said. “If the child attends a uniform school, then in place of the shirts and jeans, they receive three polo shirts and three pairs of khakis.”

If the organization does not supply a part of the uniform, the family receives a $70 voucher to purchase the item needed.

In 2015, Charity Newsies dressed more than 12,000 school-aged children.

The organization began when more than a century ago on a cold day in 1907, a newsboy stood on the corner of Broad and High streets hawking his papers. From inside a nearby restaurant, three men watched as people sped by the young boy, barely noticing him, Perez said.

Feeling sorry for him, the men brought the boy inside and sold every paper for as much as they could, sending the boy home with enough money to buy warm clothing, he said. Those men soon realized how many other local school children there must be without proper clothing, and that same year before Christmas, 50 businessmen took to the streets with a special edition of the newspaper to sell for charity.

Since then, the organization has helped more than half a million children, Perez said.

While monetary donations are welcomed, he said those wishing to help may do so by also becoming a member of Charity Newsies.

For more information on application requirements or donating, call (614) 263-4300 or go to charitynewsies.org.

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