Local organization overflowing with supplies helps Wichita area youth

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – An organization is working to help Wichita’s youth in need, and it is overflowing with supplies.

Benita Chaplain and Sarah Demby, co-founders of TOUCH Closet, never imagined having too many shoes and coats when they founded the organization in 2016.

Just four years later, they have “touched others until the change happens” at ten area schools and aren’t planning to slow down anytime soon.

The TOUCH Closet recently received significant financial support and their facility shelves are stocked. At present, there are over 150 pairs of shoes and 85 coats waiting to find new homes.

“We are very proud and happy to be able to be a resource for those who do not have one,” said Demby.

The association provides students in crisis with a coat, a pair of shoes and underwear.

College staff appreciate the help.

“We’re a Title I school so we have a lot of needs here at school and a lot of students who have parents just need that little extra push to get over them,” said Ginger Pollock, a student support activist of the Pando Initiative. . “Maybe they plan to give their kids shoes as soon as they can, but they just can’t afford it right now. ”

Felicia Barnes and her family lost almost everything in a fire in December. She said her house caught fire five days after Christmas and most of the house was damaged by water, fire or smoke. One of Barnes’ children goes to a school where Pollock works with the Panto Initiative. After hearing about the blaze, Pollock connected her to the closet which quickly helped replace items lost in the blaze.

“I swear it’s hours later than [Pollock] was at my friend’s house dropping us off shoes and coats with options, ”Barnes said.

As parents, Chaplain and Demby sympathize with parents who may not be able to provide for their children, regardless of the situation.

“As a parent when you can’t get shoes, coats or underwear for your kids,” the chaplain said. “Watching your child tie ragged shoes on is a horrible feeling. It’s a horrible feeling to feel.

Barnes said she was grateful for the support.

“I don’t have a whole bunch of support,” Barnes said. “At least I didn’t think I did, and knowing that if something tragic happens people in your community will come together to help strangers.”

If you would like to donate to TOUCH Closet, visit their website here. The Barnes family are asking for donations to rebuild their house and have a GoFund Me installed here.