Bennett Elementary PTA holds golf fundraiser for caring closet

Bennett PTA is organizing caring and sharing closet. Pictured left to right is Teri Richey, Raider Richey, Rhonda Dillard and Kendra Rejcek.

Bennett PTA is organizing caring and sharing closet. Pictured left to right is Teri Richey, Raider Richey, Rhonda Dillard and Kendra Rejcek.

Bennett Elementary PTA members want to make sure none of their families does without basic necessities and have created the Caring and Sharing Closet to help.

You can help by donating or playing in a golf tournament next month to raise funds for the project.

Kendra Rejcek is president of the PTA and co-chair of the Caring and Sharing Closet. She said 48 percent of Bennett students qualify for free breakfast and lunch because of their family income.

That’s where the idea for the Caring and Sharing Closet came into play.

“We have some families in our school that have difficulty with purchasing clothes or food for meals for their families,” said Rejcek. “So we thought, why not allow our families to share what they’ve got with other families. Why not share it?”

The Caring and Sharing Closet will be available to all Bennett families. A portable building will be used for the closet and is located where no windows face it, so no one can see who is going in or out. Rejcek said she used hand-me-downs her entire life and doesn’t feel uncomfortable with it, but she still wants to keep the process as discreet as possible.

Many items will be available in the closet. They already have clothing and plan to have food, shoes, furniture, appliances, dishes and even suits and work clothing for parents. She hopes to have food and gas gift cards available from some of the sponsoring companies. The inventory depends on the amount of room available to store the items and what is donated.

She said she wants to have a Web site where parents can look to see what inventory is available, and it should be updated weekly or monthly. A letter will be sent to parents every month or so about the closet and its needs so families know what should be restocked.

Parents can send a form to school with their child to give to their teacher, who will give the form to whoever is working in the closet and their order will be filled.

Rejcek said they’ve had no problems with students picking on one another, but they have families from every range of the socioeconomic class and want everyone to feel welcome. Food and donations will be given to students in backpacks, which will also be available to be donated.

“The kids aren’t going to know whether that’s their backpack or from the Caring and Sharing Closet,” she said. “It’ll be very discrete. Parents, hopefully, will feel much more comfortable. I’m just hoping in this economy that people can say, ‘I need the help.’”

Clothing will be in all sizes, from 24 months to adult. The item they need most right now, besides money, is clothing racks.

A golf tournament will be held July 25 at Shadow Hills golf course to raise money for the closet. Teri Richey, co-chair, came up with the idea for the tournament.

Registration for the tournament is $250 and ends July 15. There are currently 16 companies sponsoring it, and they are donating at least $100 per hole. All of the money made from the tournament will go directly into funds for the Sharing and Caring Closet, said Rejcek.

Richey said she hopes the closet will help the parents and students who need it most because she wants kids to worry about age-appropriate problems as opposed to wondering where their dinner will come from.

“Even rich people have hard times,” said Richey. “I just think it would be nice to have all the opportunities for our parents to come up there (the closet) and have a chance to reach their goals. Everyone doesn’t have the money to buy a new outfit for a job interview or whatever the case may be, and now there’s help.”

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