Spokane, Washington – There is a shop on East Sprague Avenue that’s quite exclusive: you can’t just walk in – you have to be referred – but once you get there all the nice, donated, clothes is free.
Co-founder Robyn Nance said one of the core values of Teen and Kid Closet is to treat the young shoppers with dignity and compassion.“Kids are referred to us by an adult who knows them in a professional capacity. That can be a teacher, a doctor, or someone else who knows the family’s circumstances,” Nance said.
Teen and Kid Closet recently received funding from the Avista Foundation. Nance said that donation will go toward the purchase of basics – like socks and underwear.
The youth who gain access to Teen and Kids Closet have no money for even the most basic clothing – like socks or underwear – or they may be going through a difficult time because they’ve lost a family member, or perhaps recently entered a foster home.
“We contact the family, and we schedule a time for them to come and shop,” Nance said. “They get to choose their own things from the store, and everything they pick is free.”
Youth can pick through clothes and hygiene items, jewelry, shoes and jackets – anything it takes to make a whole outfit or two.
“They get a shopping list when they get here,” Nance said, “and our goal is for them to leave with a lot of great stuff that really fits. Our goal is that they feel really good when they leave.”
Teen and Kid Closet get donations of hygiene items from Project Beauty Share and other partners, but the basics are always in high demand.
“You know the stuff that teens really like: body wash, body sprays, any kind of makeup and jewelry,” Nance said. “That always goes really quickly.”
The clothes in the store are donated by the community, and then it’s sorted and carefully vetted by a dedicated group of volunteers.
“We encourage people to think really hard about what they give us,” Nance said. “We want people to ask themselves: is this really something a teen would wear?”
The Sprague Avenue store serves all of Eastern Washington and also North Idaho. Soon, a new location is opening in the old Northwood Junior Highschool in the Mead School District.
“We are really looking forward to that,” Nance said. “It’s not just for Mead students, it will become a resource center for everyone who lives in that area.”
At Avista, we recognize our unique position gives us the chance to contribute in an impactful way and make a real difference in people's lives. Since 2002, the Avista Foundation has made grants totaling over $13 million to organizations that support vulnerable and limited income populations, education, and economic and cultural vitality. For more information on grant applications and geographical areas covered, please visit avistafoundation.com.