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Kids Kloset honors volunteers, doubles efforts to help others

Members of the Arlington Kids Kloset enjoy a volunteer appreciation luncheon in the Local Scoop, June 16, as they reflect on the groups second year in operation. -
Members of the Arlington Kids Kloset enjoy a volunteer appreciation luncheon in the Local Scoop, June 16, as they reflect on the groups second year in operation.
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ARLINGTON The Arlington Kids Kloset honored its volunteers by looking back on their accomplishments over the course of the groups second year in operation.
Kids Kloset co-founder Linda Dussault singled out the groups board of directors at the Local Scoop June 16, including Megan Butler, Mary Chesney, Mark Dolan, Keira Earhart, Lindsay Falk, Marie Haskins, Julie Morse, Penny Peters, Rick Scott and Kids Kloset co-founder Kimberly Meno. She went on to cite the numerous contributions and long hours without pay that the group has received from all its members.
Last fall, we helped 596 children, and this spring we helped 329 more, Dussault said to the 26 attendees of the volunteer luncheon. Thats up from the previous year, when we helped 532 kids. Weve nearly doubled our efforts.
The Kids Kloset was established to serve children who qualify for government-assisted free or reduced-price school meals, or who are otherwise income eligible and directly referred, in the 98223 zip code. During the past year, the groups coverage area has grown to include the Darrington School District, in addition to those of Arlington and Lakewood. Meno has credited Arlington and Lakewood schools such as the English Crossing, Kent Prairie and Presidents Elementaries with helping to support their neighbors to the east, by conducting collection drives for clothing and hygiene items.
Because of hygiene issues, Kids Kloset does not accept or dispense any used socks or underwear, but as a non-profit group with low overhead, they try not to spend any of their operating costs on purchasing new items. The group relies almost exclusively on donations of clothing, backpacks, school supplies and hygiene articles from others to stock their stores shelves, on the first floor of the old high school building on French Street.
We let parents and children choose complete wardrobes for themselves, enough to last them a full school week, along with backpacks full of school supplies that are appropriate for each childs grade level, Meno said. Were also there for children with emergency needs, because of fires, hurricanes, family crisis situations or sudden relocations.
Dussault expressed pride in how much the group has grown, from eight members in May of 2005 to more than two dozen now, but she would like to see the Kids Kloset eventually expand to 40 members, who could volunteer their time for tasks ranging from clothing collection and sorting to helping families shop for the items that they need.
Were growing a little at a time, Dussault said. Weve gotten great support from the community and I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart.
The Arlington Kids Kloset is located on 135 S. French St. in Arlington, but is closed until Aug. 1, after which it will resume its regular hours, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:30-8:30 p.m. and the first Saturday of every month. To find out more or volunteer, you can call 360-435-4875, or simply show up during working hours.

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