Once donations have been made to local charities and the holidays are over, some people forget that there are continuous needs and those holiday donations can be quickly depleted.
“Veronica’s Care Closet,” a special room at Oakdale High School stocked with personal hygiene items, clothing, school supplies, and non-perishable foods for underprivileged students, needs replenishing to continue to serve the needs of those students.
Veronica’s Care Closet coordinator Dana Hernandez reported they serve at least 100 students per year.
“We use it often – daily,” she said of the Care Closet. “Some kids are in need either individually or for their family.”
The Care Closet’s big needs right now are deodorant, deodorant, and deodorant, and also full size shampoos and conditioners, backpacks, and non-perishable food items. She added that they have quite a few clothes right now but sweatshirts and jackets are needed because of the cold weather. She said that students especially like sweatshirts.
Hernandez also stated that they ran out of backpacks and are in need of them right now. She said that backpacks are on sale during back-to-school time, but they are expensive at this time. Backpacks and school supplies such as notebooks and binders are needed year round because new students move into the district throughout the school year.
“Whenever someone moves here, they (usually) come with nothing,” she said of the students in need, adding that they require everything to get them started at school.
While backpacks and other school supplies are especially needed at the start of the school, in the spring, Hernandez said, the Care Closet starts to run low on things like notebooks and binders. She noted that they are okay on school supplies right now, except backpacks, but in about two months they’ll have a need. The supplies can be exhausted quickly as the students need one notebook per class and the binders sometimes break.
Veronica’s Care Closet goes through a lot of deodorant, Hernandez said. Hygiene items are a continuous need for the teenagers. She said there is a decent amount of trial size items at this time but the full size items are needed because some students also share them with their family members who, obviously, are needy as well.
Hernandez noted that $10 or $20 gift cards to local grocery stores or discount store chains donated to the Care Closet are helpful.
“A lot of people will donate Cost Less or Kmart gift cards. That’s nice because someone can get milk, a pound of ground beef,” she said.
She added that the Care Closet can’t keep things like bread, milk, or meat but students can pick up a box of Hamburger Helper to go with the ground beef, or peanut butter and jelly to go with a loaf of bread from the store to complete a meal.
“We went through quite a bit of the food right before the holidays,” Hernandez noted.
At the discount store chain, they can get laundry soap, toilet paper, and other necessities with a gift card that the Care Closet doesn’t carry.
Students are required to have PE clothes but they have to be solid red shorts and plain white T-shirts. Sweatpants must also be plain red or gray – and those are nice to have in the cold weather. Hernandez usually purchases these items for the students.
The school has a small fund set up, which Hernandez utilizes to purchase needed items for students if they’re not available in the Care Closet. To support the fund, checks may be made payable to Oakdale High School, c/o Veronica’s Care Closet. OHS is located at 739 West G St., Oakdale, CA 95361. For more information, contact Hernandez directly at 847-7111.