DESTIN — The Junior League of the Emerald Coast (JLEC) held its annual Child Clothing Project on Nov. 12-13 at Target in Destin. The Child Clothing Project started in 1979 with a feasibility study and has continued to grow and serve children in Okaloosa and Walton counties every year since.
According to the 2018-2019 Florida Department of Education Lunch Status Survey, 18,943 students in Okaloosa and Walton counties qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. These are the children eligible to participate in the Child Clothing Project.
The Child Clothing Project is a collaborative effort between the JLEC and the elementary schools in Okaloosa and Walton counties. The JLEC partners with guidance counselors in 32 local elementary schools to select children with the greatest needs to participate, where they shop for a new wardrobe and enjoy lunch and activities. Each child that attends the Child Clothing Project receives the following:
2 short sleeved shirts
1 long sleeved shirt
1 pair of shoes
2 pair of pants
1 pack of underwear
1 pack of socks
1 pack of toiletries
After 40 years of providing clothing to children in need throughout the community, the JLEC decided to expand its Child Clothing Project by installing closets in local schools and non-profit organizations in order to reach children year-round. The Child Clothing Closets are a joint collaboration with Okaloosa and Walton County schools and local nonprofits to give children in need access to new, well-fitted clothing throughout the year and are stocked with items such as socks, shoes, underwear, belts, uniform items, and winter coats. The closets give children with acute needs a place to turn for clothing, which helps support their well-being, dignity and positive self-esteem.
"The Child Clothing Project is one of the most impactful events for both our community and our members," said Bethany Worley, president of the JLEC. "This project is the heart of our membership and allows us to directly improve the lives of children and families here on the Emerald Coast. We greatly appreciate every member, sponsor, and volunteer that makes this project possible each year."
The cost to sponsor each child is $100. Sponsorships of the JLEC’s Child Clothing Closets may consist of a cash contribution or donation of specific items needed to install, stock, or replenish a school closet.
To learn more about the JLEC’s Child Clothing Project and Child Clothing Closets or to become a sponsor, visit www.jlec.org or email HQ@JLEC.org.