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"Teens Closet" to offer free back-to-school clothes amid inflation

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Posted at 5:16 PM, Jul 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-27 22:18:46-04

School is out for the summer, but some parents may already be stressing about sending their kids back to class with new clothes.

As prices increase this summer, "The Teens Closet" at Santa Maria High School is gearing up to reopen for the fall semester, offering free clothes and school supplies to any student who stops by.

"We have everything from teen girl's clothing to boy's clothing. We have prom dresses. We have 'dress for success' clothing as well," said Lori Klemowicz, Programs Manager for the Children's Resource Network of the Central Coast.

The group operates another "Teens Closet" at Nipomo High School.

Klemowicz says she expects more students will be lining up this coming school year.

"Lots of people are struggling with the whole COVID thing and everything has gotten more expensive, so I think this will be a great resource for some of those families who need that extra help," Klemowicz added.

The site is open once a week at lunch during the school year. Students say it is an important resource for many of their classmates.

"That is when school comes in handy," said Maritza Nava, Santa Maria High School student. "When they have enough to provide for the students when they can't provide for themselves."

"I feel like it would be more of a confidence boost because they won't have to worry so much about their clothes. School isn't really much about clothes. It should be about the education," said Calvin Paredes, Santa Maria High School student.

Recent data gathered by global company Jones Lang LaSalle shows that this summer, more than half of parents are cutting back on their back-to-school budgets due to inflation, spending 15% less on these expenses compared to last year.

"Every kid wants to go to school in something nice and have, you know, school supplies," Klemowicz said.

She says all of the clothes and supplies that are brought into the "Teens Closet" are made possible by community donations.

The Children's Resource Network says the Santa Maria Macy's contributed $3,500 worth of school clothes to be offered at no charge to students.

They also have donation bins that can be found at various schools on the Central Coast.