Arlene McMillan is asking the community to donate summer clothes to help the 2019 Prince Rupert Middle School clothing drive, after donations have gone down this year. (Jenna Cocullo / The Northern)

Prince Rupert Middle School clothing drive in desperate need of donations

PRMS is asking community to donate summer clothes for annual drive

Normally two racks and three tables are full of clothes at the bi-annual Prince Rupert Middle School clothing drive, but this time around donations have gone significantly down.

Since 2016, the school has put on the Winter Wear Walk during fall and the Clothing Walk during the spring.

Educational assistant, Arlene McMillan, usually organizes the clothing drive by word-of-mouth and social media but after only getting four shares on Facebook for this year’s summer drive she is now asking the Prince Rupert community to send help.

“This time I only got one bag of donations. The community tends to be more involved in Winter Wear Walk. I don’t think they realize that kids can still benefit from sandals and shorts,” said McMillan.

McMillan is looking for donations from summer footwear to summer clothes, bathing suits, bras, and accessories. The only items they do not accept are earrings and underwear for hygienic reasons. She is hoping for kids sizes 12 up to adult sizes XXL.

READ MORE: Backpacks and funds collected for kids

McMillan started the initiative in 2016 after she had given a rain jacket to one of her students. The following day, the student came to school without the jacket and told McMillan that she had given it to her younger sister at Roosevelt Elementary, who needed it more.

McMillan then shared the story with coworkers and sent an email to teachers and administrative staff who contributed to the first ever drive.

“It just went on from there,” said McMillan. “Then in 2017, I had a kid who said ‘when are you going to have that Clothing Walk? I want to hook my brother up.’”

McMillan said the summer and winter drives have both been very beneficial to the students at the middle school, from allowing them to have matching boots and jackets for the winter, to getting sandals and running shoes for the summer.

READ MORE: B.C. government is failing vulnerable kids and families, according to its own audits

“There’s actually a lot of kids in need. One grandma came up to me and said ‘Thank you. Now I don’t have to worry about my grand daughter at the bus stop,’” said McMillan.

The drive is only open to the students at PRMS to ensure that everyone gets something. But during the last half hour of the drive, McMillan lets them take home the remaining clothes to give to their friends and family who do not attend the school.

Donations can be dropped off at PRMS during school hours up until Wednesday, June 19 at 2 p.m when the clothing drive will be held.

Jenna Cocullo | Journalist
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