Westwood third-grader Maisie Gronemeyer with one of her Catie’s Closet donation boxes.
What began simply, with third grader Maisie Gronemeyer cleaning out clothes that no longer fit from her closet, has become something much larger.
“She was choosing which clothes were ‘gently used’ to give to Catie’s Closet,” says her mother, Melanie Guerra. “She suggested we tell some friends and neighbors about the organization so they could donate their clothes to them as well. The conversation evolved, and before we knew it, we were talking to the town and the school district, and we’d initiated a town-wide drive! Something about the mission of Catie’s Closet struck a deep chord with her.”
They have since placed donation boxes at seven locations throughout town, which will remain through November 30. Catie’s Closet provides clothing and toiletries to children aged 4-18 who may not otherwise have access to such items. They currently work with 37 schools in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, using empty classrooms as “shops” where children can discreetly obtain the items they need. The ability to get these necessities at school helps boost school attendance and remove social stigma, boosting self-esteem and allowing children to focus on learning.
Donation boxes for gently used clothing, new underwear and socks and new toiletries will be at the following locations until the end of the month: Westwood Town Hall, Westwood Police Department, Islington Community Center, Downey School, Sheehan School, Westwood High School and Thurston Middle School.