school bus

A new school year is just around the corner and along with it comes school supply and uniform expenses. Throughout the United States, families are struggling to make ends meet. But the burden for Sulphur families is lightened in large part through the City’s amazing non-profit organizations and an abundance of kindness.

This spirit of giving will be on full display at the Sulphur Christian Community Coalition’s annual Uniform Exchange from 9 a.m. until noon Saturday, July 29, at LeBlanc Middle School. Sulphur residents are invited to bring uniforms that no longer fit and exchange them for ones that do.

SC3 Executive Director Paula Taylor said uniform donations are accepted year round, from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday at the organization’s new home at 501 E. Burton St. Uniforms not claimed at the event are stored in a community resource closet. Taylor said those uniforms continue to meet community needs through school counselors, other non-profits and organizations, and area pastors over the school year.

“SC3 is comprised of neighbors, churches, small businesses, schools, and other non-profits and organizations working together as a unified force for good in our city by building community, empowering those in need, and mobilizing the compassionate,” said Taylor.  “We, like all of our partners, want each child to know, as they start a new school year, that they are loved and cared about and we do this by being the hands and feet of Jesus. We are blessed to live in such a generous city.”

The Uniform Exchange is an excellent example of “mobilizing the compassionate.” LeBlanc Middle School hosts the event. Care Help collects uniforms year-round to send to the exchange and the Houston River and Maplewood Vacation Bible Schools collected and contributed uniforms and money.

Groups from local churches The Gathering, Sulphur First Baptist and Maplewood First Baptist came together to sort and organize the uniforms. Sulphur resident Janice Crumpler’s sewing group is busy making chair backs for distribution at the event. “I saw that Victory Worship is offering free haircuts for back to school and many area churches are gathering to pray over our schools and their faculties. Those are just a few examples of the ways people in Sulphur are committed to serving,” said Taylor.

SC3’s Sulphur Community Church is hosting a family event at Kyle Park during the exchange, providing free food and games.  

Not sure if your uniform offering is up to par? “The measuring stick that I use is if I wouldn’t want my kids to wear it, I wouldn’t donate it for other kids to wear,” said Taylor. “No holes or bad stains and if they are washed and hung and ready to put on the rack, that is such a blessing because we have limited manpower.”

Jody Farnum, Executive Director of Care Help, said prior to this year, the organization collected school clothes every year for more than a decade. “It was a huge undertaking,” she said. SC3 offered last year to handle the uniform side, allowing Care Help to focus on school supplies and new shoes.

“Our volunteers and employees sort through the donated uniforms and then send to them SC3 when they are ready for the exchange,” said Farnum.

Care Help will continue collecting uniforms and selling them year-round for 50 cents a piece. “Any family in need can always go through our assistance office for help with clothing,” said Farnum.

Care Help is currently holding its Back-to-School drive and those who qualify will receive a backpack, in their choice of color, filled with school supplies and a $40 dollar gift card to the Shoe Dept. and they can participate in the uniform exchange with SC3.

Farnum said Care Help assists an average of 350 school-age children with back to school. “That is $14,000 dollars just in new shoes,” she said. “Every student deserves new shoes to start the school year right.”

Care Help is accepting monetary donations for Back-to-School. We bought in bulk ahead of time,” said Farnum. “This way we are not depleting local stores of school supplies when purchasing for 350 children.”

Care Help will resume their Backpack Blessings in September. The program provides food for students to bring home on the weekend. According to Farnum, Care Help delivered 868 bags of food a month last school year. “No child should ever go hungry,” she said. “We are currently collecting single servings of non-perishable food such as Jiffy to Go, beef jerky, Pop Tarts, Vienna Sausage, pudding, fruit cups, single serving cereal and snacks. We always have a need for volunteers to help with making these bags and possible delivery to the schools.

If you wish to donate school supplies, uniforms, or other items for SC3’a community resource closet, or if you would like to help during the uniform exchange, text 287-0483 or email sulphurccc@gmail.com.

For more information about Care Help’s programs visit care-help.org online or like the organization on Facebook.