Run out of a small portable building behind the San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District Central Office, the Rattler Donation Closet is a non-profit organization that provides clothing and other necessities for students in need throughout San Marcos schools.
In addition to clothing, Rattler Donation accepts school supplies and monetary assistance to help provide physicals or eye exams for students. The ongoing donation drive has been in operation for three years and helps 78 percent of students in the district who are in the lower income bracket, said Georganne Logue, the administrative assistant to the superintendent who developed the project.
The center serves students from pre-K through 12th grade and receives clothing donations mainly from members of the community as well as sponsors such as Nike, which has donated shoes.
Logue said one of the largest challenges with the drive has been getting new clothes for the students as opposed to gently used items.
Linda Contreras, parent liaison at the high school level of the program, shared the same concern. The needs of high school students are just as important as the children in lower grade levels, she said, but unfortunately they are often forgotten.
“If we wouldn’t want to wear it, why would we expect them to?” Logue said. “It’s a pride thing.”
Teachers who observe students who are in need are sent to Contreras, who then will try to help them find specific clothing. Contreras said she makes sure the students do not feel ashamed or embarrassed for coming to the closet.
“When they hold back or try to refuse help, I just tell them that when I was in school we didn’t have anything like this and that we’re so grateful that we can provide this for them,” Contreras said. “I remind them that no one has to know they were here and to just pick out whatever they need.”
Contreras said finding clothing to match the specific style of each individual student can be challenging. She shared how one “skater” student came in needing sneakers and was disappointed when they couldn’t immediately find any that suited his preference. Luckily however, Contreras said, she did find him a pair that he walked away happy with.
Contreras said she hopes to continue expanding the organization to help provide clothing for students in all aspects of their lives. Not just clothing for students to wear during school, but during athletics, caps and gowns for graduation or even uniforms for students who have part-time jobs.
Although the Rattler Donation Closet’s main goal is to make sure that students don’t miss school because they lack basic necessities such as clothing, their focus expands further than that. The Rattler Donation Closet is about providing students with a sense of confidence that comes from focusing not on what they’re wearing, but on gaining the knowledge they need for a successful education.