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Filling up the ‘Comfort Closet’

December 28, 2018

La PORTE — La Porte area Gleaners gave La Porte High School’s Comfort Closet a helping hand with the purchase of new supplies.

The goal of the Comfort Closet is to give toiletries such as toilet paper, tooth brushes and tooth paste, shower gel, hand soap, tampons, body soap, conditioner, shampoo, deodorant and floss to anonymous students at La Porte High School.

A donation of $250 was given to the Comfort Closet by Gleaner Life Insurance’s Give and Grow program. The funds were used to purchase the aforementioned items on Dec. 20 at CVS on Lincoln Way in La Porte.

Volunteers Dick Reel and his wife Mary Reel, along with Carl Schultz and Dave and Barbara Birchfield made up the Gleaner Life Insurance team purchasing the items.

“I’m happy to help,” said Dick Reel. “I’m retired so I like to help out by volunteering when I can. We’re getting a little more than we expected, and that’s just great.”

Gleaner Life Insurance’s “Give and Grow” program provides grants to communities for local projects. The funding for grants is provided by Gleaner Life Insurance Company.

The Comfort Closet was started by LPHS educators Caryn Schmidt, Amy Jackson, Kate Steinhuble, Jessica Aguilar and Kate Henderson who applied for a La Porte Education Foundation Grant in hopes of getting the program underway.

The program is used by students who are in need of essentials most people take for granted. Students anonymously sign up at the school’s office to obtain the items, which in turn are discreetly given to them.

The Comfort Closet offers three different pick-up sites in which students can choose to receive their orders. The orders can be picked up at the nurse’s office, their virtual learning center or at the guidance counselor’s office.

So far, 50 students have been served through the Comfort Closet.

“This is an awesome way to help kids in need,” said Henderson, who teaches Spanish at La Porte High School. “It helps the kids get everyday things they might not have access to at home and it’s anonymous. It’s nice to see the community come together and help out kids in need.”

This is the first year for the program, but the teachers said they hope it wont be the last. They also plan to have another supply drive soon.

A CVS shopper, Adeana Pinks, of La Porte, donated more than $25 worth of items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, toilet paper and feminine hygiene products to the program that evening.

“It definitely is a good program for the community,” said Pinks. “A lot of kids are too ashamed to ask for these things. I’m glad its discreet. I plan to donate again next time.”

Community members looking to donate unopened and unused personal care items can contact Amy Jackson at ajackson@lpcsc.k12.in.us or Caryn Schmidt at cschmidt@lpcsc.k12.in.us.

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