ARLINGTON — Kids' Kloset was bustling with activity at its offices in the former Arlington High School building on Friday, Oct. 25, as its facilities were refurbished by 24 employees of Lowe's, representing store branches in Smokey Point, Everett, Monroe, Mill Creek, Lynnwood, Bellevue, Bellingham, north Seattle and even Issaquah.
Jim Wilde, the human resources manager for Lowe's in Smokey Point, admitted that he has a personal connection to the Arlington Kids' Kloset through its site manager, Mary Linch.
"Mary used to be my boss at Lowe's," Wilde laughed. "She's also the only paid staff member here. The rest of the Kids' Kloset folks are all volunteers."
"It was a great job and I loved working there," Linch said of her three and a half years as HR manager of the Smokey Point Lowe's. "I felt like I belonged to a family. Even though I no longer work there, Lowe's still considers me family, and was more than happy to consider Kids' Kloset as one of their Heroes projects this year, in addition to donating beautiful stainless steel barbecue grills to our annual auctions for the past two years."
Even as Wilde's fellow Lowe's employees touched up the interiors of the Kids' Kloset with 35 gallons of paint and retrofitted new window blinds into the concrete walls of the nonprofit charity's basement offices, he praised the staff of Kids' Kloset for the attractiveness of their facility and its stock.
"They have quality clothes that look really good," Wilde said, as fellow Lowe's employees placed plastic sheets over the shelves and racks of clothes to protect them from any errant drops of paint. "I also like how they've created the sense that you're walking into an actual retail store when you come here. Everything is clean, and there are even art murals."
When Wilde checked up on Kids' Kloset, he found that, within the past 24 months, they'd served roughly 1,600 low-income children in Arlington and the surrounding north Snohomish County region, furnishing them with new and gently used clothing and shoes, with the assistance of other community groups and businesses, among them Target and Kohl's.
"Lowe's believes in being a good neighbor and giving back to the communities that its stores call home," said Wilde, who listed other recent "Lowe's Heroes" community service projects within the state as including new countertops for a women's shelter in Everett, a new deck for a women's shelter in Duvall and new appliances for a veterans' group home in Aurora. "Everywhere that we have Lowe's stores, we do Heroes projects."
Linch expressed her appreciation not only to Lowe's, but also to everyone in the community who's donated their dollars and clothing, as well as their time and efforts as volunteers.
"Some of our volunteers have been donating their time tirelessly every week for years," Linch said. "I consider myself a better person for being able to associate with all those who have given to and served Kids' Kloset. I'm sure I speak for all of them when I say it's a privilege to be involved in Kids' Kloset, and to serve the families who use Kids' Kloset's services."
The Arlington Kids' Kloset is located at the rear entrance of the former Arlington High School building at 135 S. French Ave. For more information, call them at 360-435-4875 or log onto www.arlingtonkidskloset.com.