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Volunteers revitalize free clothing center
Tom Skoda and Tina Moore are both professionals when it comes to money, but now they’re learning on the run how to handle a different valuable: Used clothing for children in need.
Skoda and Moore reopened the Federal Way PTSA Council’s Clothing Resource Center on Aug. 19. The clothing bank, which supplies used outfits for free to students in the Federal Way School District, hasn’t been open since December 2007, when its former director had to quit because of medical problems.
When they heard of the closure, Moore, a controller for a casing company, and Skoda, an accountant, both volunteered in June to help get the center operating again.
Now they’re running the Clothing Resource Center and keeping busy learning the tricks of the trade. The local Macy’s store, for example, will show them how to maximize their space and polish their clothing presentation with new shelving. In the clothing bank’s first day of operation, they also learned how much their service is needed.
“Tina and I have heard there are plenty of families out there who need the help,” Skoda said. “We didn’t know what to expect when we opened, and we ended up with a crowd.”
More than 20 children received clothing from the center on its first day. More than 40 percent of the students in Federal Way come from low-income families, according to the Federal Way School District. But the center isn’t short on clothing.
“We went through at least 100 bags of clothing before we opened,” Moore said. “We have clothes that aren’t even out yet because we don’t have the space.”
While people seem willing to donate clothing, there hasn’t been a lot of people giving their time to help the center. Besides Moore and Skoda, the most frequent volunteers who helped reopen the center were Moore’s mother and husband.
Helping others comes naturally to the pair, who had never met before they volunteered.
Moore is treasurer for the Federal Way High School Booster Club. She calls herself mom to three children, counting among them her son’s best friend, whom she took into their home. Skoda volunteers with the Knights of Columbus and several other organizations, said his wife, Barbara.
The Clothing Resource Center has a history of temporary closures and changing locations. Both Skoda and Moore hope to restore a little permanence to its operations by keeping their positions leading the service.
“I find it rewarding, once you get it up and going and organized,” Moore said. “I don’t plan on going anywhere for quite a while.”
To get clothing or drop off donations, visit the Clothing Resource Center from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays or 1 to 3 p.m. the first Saturday of every month at 30819 14th Ave. S., across from the Federal Way High School stadium. To volunteer or learn more, e-mail Tom Skoda at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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