Seymour Middle School plans 2 coat donation efforts


Every year, Seymour Middle School students open their hearts, closets and dressers to help provide winter clothing for those in need.

The school’s annual clothing drive has helped stock the Jackson County Clothing Center for 22 years. In that time, it also has taught thousands of students the meaning of giving back to the community.

Last year, students and staff collected more than 20,000 coats and other articles of clothing. Although the clothing center appreciated the overwhelming response, the amount of clothing was too much for volunteers to process and store all at once, social studies teacher Chris

Kleber said.

That’s why the school is conducting two drives this year, both organized by SMS student government.

The winter clothing drive ended Nov. 7 with students in Grades 6 to 8 bringing in a total of 4,044 items, including coats, pants, long-sleeve shirts, sweatshirts, gloves

and scarves.

A second collection will be conducted in April and will focus on light jackets,

shorts, T-shirts and other

warm-weather clothing.

“We wanted to break it up to make it a little easier on the clothing center,” said Kleber, who oversees the student government.

The clothing drive was first organized by math teacher Wayne Huddleston as a community service project for students in the math club. At that time, it was only for coats. It was expanded because of the need for other items at the clothing center, Kleber said.

Top individual collectors, students who brought in

75 items or more and homeroom classes that collected the most this year will earn prizes, including a pizza party and Owl reward bucks to be used by students to buy merchandise in the school store.

Seventh-grader Cody Estes was one of the students donating the most, bringing in around 200 articles of clothing on his own.

“We just had a lot of clothes at home that we didn’t wear anymore,” Cody said. “My sister and brother went through their drawers, too, and our mom said if things were too small, then we should get rid of them.”

He was surprised by the amount of clothes they had

to donate.

“I didn’t think I would have this much to bring in,” he said.

But he’s glad that he

could help.

“There are some kids that don’t have enough clothes, so hopefully, this will give them more,” he said.

Also earning top honors for collecting the most clothes were sixth-grader Ryan Neal and eighth-grader Drew Schrink. Top homeroom classrooms were sixth-grade teacher Lisa McCory, seventh-grade teacher Matt Martin and Kleber in eighth grade.

Kleber said the drive wouldn’t be as successful as it is without teachers’ encouragement and willingness to participate.

“They do a good job of promoting it,” he said.

Besides donating clothing, some students volunteer at the clothing center, helping sort and hang clothes.

When students give to others, Kleber said, it’s not about getting something back in return.

“I think there is a real desire in these kids to help others in need in our community,” he said. “We talk about that need and how there are thousands of people who don’t have a coat or sweater to keep warm. That’s their motivation.”

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Top collectors in Seymour Middle School’s annual fall/winter coat and clothing drive:

Eighth grade — Drew Schrink

Seventh grade — Cody Estes

Sixth grade — Ryan Neal

Collectors donating at least 75 items: Delaney Cummings, Emily Hume, Keegan Sunbury, Courtney Hiron, Bailey Lauster, Elijah Miller, Hemangi Patel, Luke Bane, Jessica Schrink, Jared Rockey, Kristyn Marquez, William Woodard, Trever Stuckwisch and Hannah Busby

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“There are some kids that don’t have enough clothes, so hopefully, this will give them more.”

Seymour seventh-grader Cody Estes, on the value of the annual coat drive


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