MOUNT GILEAD — The Little Prides and Joys mothers’ club found a way in 2021 to continue their mission of clothing school children with warm clothing in spite of Covid-19 restrictions.
For thirty-five years the mothers club has been providing warm winter coats, gloves, tops, jeans and underwear for children in Morrow County.
Last year the pandemic caused the group to suspend the project. Club member Donna Dorsten said they found a new way in 2021 by distributing the clothing to children in bags. In the past, they had children always come in to the Clothes Closet and try on the clothes.
“We gear up shopping for clothing in August and September,” Mothers club member Jane Griffith said. “Our main goal is to provide warm winter clothing for children.”
As in the past, parents filled out forms from the children’s schools in Cardington, Mount Gilead and Northmor school districts. Highland District has their own Clothes Closet in Marengo.
Children’s sizes, preferred colors and needed items were listed on the forms and returned to school. Parents were called when clothing was ready for pick-up at Northfield Medical Center with some bags distributed at the children’s schools.
Griffith said they had a very good response with families picking up clothing three Saturdays in September and October. Volunteers had shopped and sorted the clothing and had bags ready for pickup as parents drove up to Northfield.
170 children benefited in 2021
170 children were clothed with 680 pairs of jeans, 850 tops and 850 sets of socks and underwear. A warm coat and pair of gloves were also given to children.
Numbers of children clothed vary from year to year. The largest number was in the 2008 recession when 416 children were clothed. The past few years, numbers range from 150 children in 2019 to 136 in 2017.
Griffith said all underwear and socks are new. “Gently used” clothing and coats are also accepted and with money received from donations they purchase many items.
“We cleaned out several department stores of blue jeans and shirts this fall,” said Dorsten who helped with the shopping.
Dorsten said groups from their club along with other volunteers sorted and bagged the clothing at Northfield with as many as 70 bags distributed on Saturdays this fall.
Ohio Health/Northfield welcomed the group to use the building for sorting and keeping the clothing and all volunteers were required to be vaccinated and wear masks.
Griffith extended thanks to all the volunteers who contributed to the project. She thanked Dr. and Mrs. Grant Galbraith for the use of rooms at Northfield. Volunteers included: Amanda Feddersen, Diane Kistler, Joyce Miller, Pat Riederer, Sylvia Reineke, Brandi Smith, Tom Griffith, Dick Miller and John Oyster.
Little Prides and Joys Mothers Club member volunteers include Carolyn Beal, Sandy Decker, Donna Dorsten, Mary Fuller, Terry Galbraith, Mary Galloway, Judy Graham, Jane Griffith, Cindy Hershner, Sharon Hickson, Pat Miller, Cathy Oyster, Cindy Shoaf and Lois Weaston.
Griffith emphasized that the club depends on the community for both donations and volunteers.
“We have only 14 members so the volunteers are indispensable,” Griffith said. “We have no paid employees; the entire project is done with volunteers.”
“Little Prides and Joys is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization. All donations are tax deductible and 100 percent of the donations benefit children in Morrow County,” Griffith said.