Clothing Closet Warms Community

By Middlebury Campus

Author: Becky Ruby Staff Writer

Last Friday, between 50 and 75 Middlebury College students arrived in Mitchell Green Lounge. Sorting through piles of coats, hats and other winter necessities, they left better suited to survive what Vermont does best: winter.

The Winter Clothing Closet is a chance for students to receive winter clothing free of charge. Michael Baumgardner, Wonnacott Commons Residential Advisor (CRA), said via e-mail that the purpose of the clothing drive was to assist students who may come from backgrounds or countries where having winter clothing is not a necessity.

“They come to Vermont and are shocked at how cold it really can get here and [at] how long winter is,” said Baumgardner.

College community members donated new and used winter necessities during a clothing drive before the event. Clothing was collected in boxes placed in both dormitories and other campus buildings.

“The amount of donations made was simply amazing,” said Lisa Stifler, a Wonnacott CRA and a chief organizer of the event. “People who needed warm clothes were able to come and get what they needed.”

The event was organized by the Dean of Student Affairs Office, the International Students Organization (ISO) and the CRAs of each commons.

“Many people contributed and many people assisted in both large and small ways,” said Kathy Foley-Giorgio, associate dean of student affairs and the event’s chief organizer. “This was a community effort,” she remarked.

Foley-Giorgio thanked everyone who had been involved with the 2001 Winter Clothing Closet in a campus-wide e-mail.

The clothing that was not taken by students was donated to the Addison County Community Action Group (ACCAG).

Stifler said that there were ten bags of clothing given to ACCAG to help clothe Vermonters this winter. “ACCAG was so appreciative of all the clothing,” she noted. “They just kept thanking us.”

With its large participant turnout and overwhelming number of donations, the 2001 Winter Clothing Closet was deemed a success.

“This year was incredible. We had so much clothing, and very nice clothing as well,” Baumgardner remarked.

If you are thinking about throwing out that lightly used ski jacket, hat or pair of gloves, save it instead for next year’s Winter Clothing Closet.

Already planning ahead, Foley-Giorgio reminded the College community in her e-mail, “At the end of winter, please keep in mind that we will be doing this again in late September/early October next year.”