Parkway West High School students, from left, Emma Caplinger, Olivia Riemer, Lily Stiegemeyer, Hayden Sampson and Adviser Debra Klevens carry bags of donated clothes for the St. Clair Closet. A clothing drive was held Jan. 28-31 for the St. Clair District.  

The St. Clair Closet recently received a large donation thanks to a clothing drive held Jan. 28-31 at Parkway West High School in St. Louis County.

The closet is a collection of donated clothes, formalwear, shoes, accessories and hygiene products for boys and girls who may be in need. It was created two years ago by school counselors Holly Click and Emily Sharratt.

The counselors had noticed students were in need of clothing and essential items. Community members were handing in donations for students, however, there was nowhere to store extra contributions.

Students can now shop for items located in a former trailer classroom near the high school. The program is organized and run by students.

Enough clothing and items were collected during the Parkway West High School drive that it filled an entire truck bed and the backseat, according to Jennifer Moore, English I/yearbook teacher.

“It is such a great thing to see students helping other students, especially ones from another school,” she said.

The idea of collecting items for the closet developed over the summer when Parkway West High School Journalism teacher Debra Klevens met Moore at the Herff Jones Yearbook Camp. The camp focused on how to improve yearbook sales.

“I was talking to St. Clair High School Adviser Jennifer Moore and she told me that many of her student’s basic needs were not met, due to no fault of their own,” Klevens said. “She wanted them to focus on a brighter future and knew a yearbook purchase was a stretch. We went on to talk and she told me that some of her students wore the same clothing for days.

“We were talking about how polar opposite our situations were and I knew I could help.”

In her journalism honor society Quill and Scroll, Klevens said she requires students to complete six hours of community service.

“We discussed things that could be done to better our community and this was one idea,” she said.

After winter break, she suggested that her students should conduct a clothing drive for the St. Clair Closet.

“It’s a win-win and a win-win it was,” Klevens said. “You could not walk through my classroom. There was a ton of bags.”

St. Clair students Alyssa Sullivan and Madelyn Jones, who run the closet, sorted and organized the clothes along with Moore’s freshman classes.

Sharratt said it looked like Christmas morning last Thursday at St. Clair High School.

“The kids were over the moon sorting and picking out items for peers and classmates,” she said. “I believe over two-thirds of the clothes have already been put into the hands of students who will appreciate them.

“It was so rewarding to see young people have so much fun thinking of others,” she added. “The donation from Parkway West was such a wonderful surprise.”

Items that the closet is still in need of include feminine products, hair products, toiletry items, shower items and makeup, according to Moore.

There is a St. Clair Closet Facebook page where the community can keep up-to-date on items that need to be donated and when the closet opens for special occasions.

The closet is not only for high schoolers. Students at Edgar Murray Elementary and at St. Clair Junior High also can ask their school counselor to take them to the closet for items they may need.

The closet is only available upon student request, however, if a parent or student wants to shop at the closet, arrangements can be made in advance.

For more information, call the high school at 636-629-3500.