“New Clothes, New Beginnings” Annual Distribution
The “New Clothes, New Beginnings” distribution takes place each July. This year 5,000 children in kindergarten through sixth grade, from 40 school districts and 140 “Title I” schools, will participate.
Who Gets to Attend?
Participating students are selected by their school’s parent coordinator, social worker or school nurse using strict criteria to ensure the highest-need children are served. Back to School Clothing Drive does not select the children or serve the public directly. Throughout the week, children are bused to the Grand Canyon University Arena, which is transformed into a department store for a magical school clothes shopping experience. The best thing about this store, though, is money isn’t required. Each student shopper receives approximately $300 of clothes and supplies for free! By week’s end, more than $1.8 million (retail value) in clothes and supplies is distributed.
Upon arrival, the students are matched with a personal shopper who helps them select a brand new wardrobe, including: two pairs of shorts or skorts, two polo shirts, one sweatshirt, one belt, three pairs of socks and underwear, one pair of sneakers, one backpack, one hand-made item sewn by a Stitches-of-Love volunteer, dozens of school supplies, and personal hygiene items.
Back to School Clothing Drive is proud to be the largest and oldest distributor of school uniforms, backpacks, and school supplies to at-risk children throughout Maricopa County.
Please note, Back to School Clothing Drive is not a direct service provider to individuals or the general public. We work exclusively through Valley elementary schools that are designated as a “Title I” school (by Department of Education criteria). Additionally, our program exclusively serves children in grades K-6 (or ages 5-12). As much as we would like to, we cannot accommodate any children outside of these parameters.
Partner schools are allocated a specific number of spaces for eligible students who are then registered well in advance of the event. We cannot accept walk-in students during distribution week. If you are unsure if your child is eligible, contact his or her elementary school and ask if they participate in our programs. If yes, they can help you sign up.
Schools and social service agency participation
If you represent a “Title I” elementary school or a social service agency serving children in Maricopa County, you may be able to participate in the “New Clothes, New Beginnings” program.
Schools should contact their superintendent to determine if other schools in the district participate in the program. If they do, you can email us at email@example.com to register your school.
All participating schools and agencies are required to bus their children to and from the event. NO EXCEPTIONS. Student family members are not allowed to attend or provide transportation to distribution. Participants from each school must arrive together as a group on the same bus and leave as a group on the same bus. NO EXCEPTIONS. Additionally, all social service agencies must arrange group transportation to and from the event for their participating children. If transportation cannot be arranged, your school, agency or organization cannot participate. NO EXCEPTIONS.
Ineligible families needing assistance
If your child isn’t able to participate, but still needs clothing and/or school supplies you can contact his or her elementary school and ask if there are clothes available in their clothing closets. You can also contact the Salvation Army, Assistance League of Phoenix, or the City of Phoenix Family Services Center for potential assistance.
July 7-14, 2013 at Grand Canyon University Arena
3300 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix
Set up: July 7, 2013
Distribution: July 8-12, 2013
Tear Down: July 13-14, 2013
Day 1–Truck Unloading and Set Up: Pallets of merchandise are delivered to Grand Canyon University, courtesy of our storage partner, Freeport Logistics, and unloaded for inventory. Then, the arena is transformed into a department store that rivals Target and WalMart–well, almost! Volunteers unpack and arrange merchandise on our shelves creating the following departments:
- Stitches of Love – A true shopping experience! Kids get to choose from beautiful hand-sewn and store-bought items including shirts, dresses, skirts, tops, shorts and pants. There is also an accessory table where boys can choose a handmade key ring or zipper pull and a knit cap and girls select from a dazzling array of purses, bracelets, scrunchies and skinny scarves.
- Shoes – Girls and boys sneakers sizes 1–13 make up one of the most popular departments with volunteers and the kids.
- Shorts/Skorts and Shirts, Socks, and Underwear – All of the components of school uniforms are provided. Each child gets one white shirt and one shirt in the school-required color, a navy blue sweatshirt, navy or Khaki shorts or skorts (depending upon the child’s preference), a belt, boxers/briefs or girls hipsters, along with crew cut, ankle, or knee-high white socks.
- Backpacks – Stuffed with pens, pencils, notebooks, paper, crayons, glue, and a variety of hygiene items, backpacks are as popular today as when you were in school.
Day 2– Backpack Stuffing, Set -up and Showtime! Shift #1 will finish set up and start stuffing the week’s backpacks, while Shift #2 welcomes our first round of student shoppers!
Days 3-6 –More than 5,000 students from 140 Title I schools will descend on the Grand Canyon University Arena and begin by registering in the auditorium. After registration, the kids are paired up with a personal shopper, one of several hundred volunteers who escorts the children through the departments and helps fill their bags . After receiving their items, including shoes and backpacks, they are escorted back to the auditorium and onto their bus to head back to their school.
Days 7-8 – Tear down and Inventory: It’s a crazy end to an action-packed week, but the children’s smiles make every minute worth it! Volunteer one shift, one day, or more. You won’t forget the experience.