Remember your first day of school? Picking out the perfect outfit and wanting to make a good impression? Wanting to feel confident and fit in with your peers? For students in need, new clothing is a luxury their parents often can’t afford.
Bellevue LifeSpring’s Clothes-4-Kids™ program distributes gift cards to students to select new school clothing from Old Navy and GAP so that they can feel confident and self-assured like their peers.
This fall, 1,332 students are returning to school with new clothing and shoes purchased with Clothes-4-Kids™ gift cards.
Alyssa is in the 6th grade, and her story is similar to many students here in Bellevue. The first year of middle school is a big deal, and like other students her age, Alyssa is growing quickly. The pants and shirts that fit her last school year are now too small or too short. And, like other kids, Alyssa wants to wear clothing that expresses her bright and bubbly personality.
Alyssa lives at home with her mom Valeria. Valeria is a hotel concierge in Bellevue and earns approximately $40,000 per year — a salary considered in the very low-income range according to Bellevue’s AMI (Area Median Income) for a two-person household.
Since Valeria works evenings and Saturday shifts, she has to pay for a babysitter for Alyssa. As a single mom covering all the bills, there is no extra money after rent, food, and childcare is paid. New back-to-school clothing has just never been an option for Alyssa.
Before Valeria connected with Bellevue LifeSpring, she and Alyssa would have to visit clothing banks and thrift stores. Finding the correct sizing and style Alyssa needed and wished for was always challenging.
Last spring, the zipper on Alyssa’s jacket broke, and the sleeves became too short. Thanks to Bellevue LifeSpring’s Clothes-4-Kids™ program, Alyssa purchased a new warm fleece jacket for this coming fall. Alyssa’s t-shirts from last year were also getting too small and had some holes. Alyssa was ecstatic to find new shirts with pink and yellow flowers that fit her bubbly and bright personality. Alyssa’s feet grew a whole shoe size bigger this past year. She was able to find some new sneakers for the new school year.
Community members like you are helping make a difference for students in need like Alyssa every day. Your support of Bellevue LifeSpring means these students can experience the first day of school ready to learn, just like their peers.
Words of gratitude from one Bellevue child: