The Shepherd’s Supply Clothing Closet recently got a big boost, thanks to the generous hearts of Middle Tennessee’s high school students.
But, that boost has put the squeeze on an already cramped operation.
About 18,000 pairs of jeans were donated to the Shepherd’s Closet through Aeropostale and DoSomething.org’s Teens for Jeans program.
The previously owned jeans, which came in various sizes and brands, were donated by students at all the participating high schools in Middle Tennessee.
Nationally, the Jeans for Teens program has provided 1.2 million pairs of jeans to various organizations in the past four years, according to the organization’s website.
“It was a wonderful blessing to us,” said Rebecca Floyd, secretary of the Rutherford County Foster Parent Association, a nonprofit organization that runs the closet.
In fact, the blessing was so large that Floyd said the association plans to share the jeans with other foster parent associations in the state.
The officers of RCFPA work together to manage the closet, which is currently housed at Fortress Storage in Murfreesboro.
“It was, for a while, operating out of three officers’ garages, so we decided we had to move somewhere else bigger,” Floyd said. “We’re actually bursting at the seams again.”
The storage space has been rented to the association at a generously reduced rate, and it offers only 900 square feet of space.
“Our biggest need is more space, with a minimum of 3,000 square feet, with air conditioning and heating, due to items we keep in storage like baby formula,” she said. “We would love to have a building that we could use to hold our association meeting, with a restroom and enough space for our clothing closet.”
Floyd said they are hoping an adequate building will be donated or rented to them at a heavily discounted rate.
The Shepherd’s Closet serves to help outfit Rutherford County children in foster care. At-risk children are also served, but only on a referral basis, she said.
The closet was developed by Floyd and Myra Cooper, president of the Foster Parent Association, as a means to help foster families make ends meet. Its mission is to promote better community awareness, care for foster children, and support foster families.
Although foster families receive a clothing allotment through the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services to help them buy clothes for the children they support, it is often not enough, Floyd said, especially if the children stay at the foster home for extended periods or through changes in seasons.
“Right now, at any given time, there are a hundred-and-sixty-plus children coming in and out of custody. When they come into our homes, a lot of times they come in with absolutely nothing,” said Floyd, who along with her husband, Rodney Floyd, has been fostering children for about two and a half years.
They have parented about a dozen foster children in that time, and right now have five children at home – two foster children, two internationally adopted children and one biological child.
“So, our goal is to provide or supply all the foster children in Rutherford County with new or used clothes,” she said. “Children grow faster than you can buy clothes for them, and when seasons change, that’s what the clothing closet is there for – at no cost to them.”
The closet also provides shoes, toys, school supplies, backpacks and personal hygiene products.
“The kids are already going through such a tough time, being uprooted from their home and put into a foster home, so we try and supply them with school supplies and personal items that they can call their own,” she said. “It’s kind of like a security blanket because a lot of times they can’t take things from their home into a foster home.”
For more information, contact Rebecca Floyd at email@example.com. The organization also has a Facebook page that is frequently updated and has a website currently under development at rcfpa.net.
Calling all VOLUNTEERS…..
The Rutherford County Foster Parent Assn. & We Care Missions has volunteer opportunities THIS WEEKEND
Date & Time: Saturday, March 10 for two separate shifts: 9 a.m.-noon; 1-4 p.m.
Location: The Shepherd’s Supply Clothing Closet, Fortress Storage, 138 Barfield Crescent Rd., Murfreesboro (When you arrive, please pull through the gate that is open and park your cars in on of the 10 –15 parking spaces inside the gate; and enter through the front door and have the front desk direct you to the clothing closet on the 2nd floor)
Project: Sorting by size and gender 15,000 pairs of jeans
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org with the number of volunteers and the shift that you will be attending.