We are happy to be back with our second newsletter. The end of the school year plus rounds of COVID kept us from publishing last spring.
Board Member Highlight: Jenni Espinal, in her own words
"Hi everyone! My name is Jenni Espinal, and I am the Family Engagement Facilitator at the Saltonstall School. I also represent Saltonstall at the Salem District Family Counsel and I am a member of the SPS Heritage, Culture, and Pride Advisory Group for this school year. Recently, I have been appointed the Family Counsel for our school and to the board of The Clothing Connection. Prior to working at the school, I was a Saltonstall mother, now, my son is at Salem High School. I have been in the Salem School District for about 8 years. That's why I
understand the importance of this role. I am Hispanic, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, a single mom, and a first-generation college graduate. I previously worked as a Patient Service Specialist in an ophthalmology practice for 7 years, serving as a liaison between patients and doctors. I had the opportunity to be a Parent Tech Ambassador for Saltonstall on a few occasions and that made me realize that I can do more for my community. I am fully committed to working on improving the participation of the Latino, and black and brown low-income families of Salem in this school district."
Salem Academy Student finds Service Learning Success in Used Clothing
By Charlotte Meen
During their junior year of high school, students at Salem Academy choose a service topic and develop a project to work on throughout their senior year based on this topic. Students in the class of 2023 chose a wide variety of topics, ranging from immigration to shark advocacy.
Wesley Thornett, current Salem Academy senior, selected the “collection and useful relocation of clothes” as his service learning project. Over the summer, Thornett ran a used clothing drive for The Clothing Connection to help collect clothing and increase the variety of clothing donated. With winter around the corner, cold weather clothing was the main focus of his drive.
Ultimately collecting around 400 pieces of clothing, Thornett stated that most clothing was "in good condition or was newly purchased from the store” and the few items that were dirty or damaged were donated to Savers".
While this kick-off drive was a boon for The Clothing Connection, Thornett has found a way to serve his entire community with his service project.
When asked if he felt the drive was a success, Thornett replied, "I think in general the clothes donated were in good condition and matched the requirements I had outlined, and all I can say is that I could have done better by simply collecting more clothes."
We will bring you an update on Wesley’s project in the spring.
Salem High School
At the Salem High School Pantry & Closet, we share a space with the Salem Food Pantry and partner with high school staff to ensure that students have access to clean, basic clothing, and essential toiletries. Board member Vickie Dawson runs the Clothing Connection side of the pantry where the needs of the closet are ever changing. We can always use socks, boxer briefs, and panties. In addition, feminine hygiene products are always in demand (pads and tampons of all sizes are welcome donations). If you are interested in donating, please contact Vickie at 978-578-5694.
Collins Middle School
At Collins, board member Colette Loux keeps the closet stocked with hoodies, tees, and personal hygiene products. If you are interested in donating to the Collins closet, please contact Colette at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Elementary School Closet at First Church is where we store everything for the rest of our schools. Our big needs for fall are long-sleeved tees, hoodies, underwear, and socks. Board members Susanna Baird and Tracy Czahor run the Elementary School Closet.
We want to extend a grateful welcome to our Salem State University student, Tommie Worrall. Tommie has been placed with us as part of the University’s Foreign Languages and World Cultures Department Community Placement program. Tommie will be translating our Google forms, Facebook posts, and other communications throughout their fall semester. This is the second year The Clothing Connection has been able to partner with the university to improve our family communications.
Welcome to Jean Marie Procious. Jean Marie, a Salem High parent and Executive Director of the Salem Athenaeum, has joined Vickie in keeping the closet up and running for the students this school year.
After two and half years of fundraising pause, we are back with three in-person opportunities this fall.
Up first is an American Flatbread Fundraiser on Tuesday, October 25. What could be easier than not cooking dinner and coming down to Flatbread at 311 Derby Street to see us and eat pizza? Pretty much nothing! From 4 pm - 10 pm, American Flatbread will donate $3.50 from each large pizza and $1.75 from each small pizza to The Clothing Connection. We will be running a 50/50 Raffle from 5 pm - 8 pm as well. Not in the mood to dine-in? Takeout counts as well!
On Halloween, we have been afforded the opportunity to staff the Universal Steel lot at 297 Bridge Street. This is a city lot and not part of the controversial Halloween Parking Overlay. We are sharing the day with Timmy’s Angels, a partnership we are looking forward to. We are still filling out our staffing and have hours available from 10 am – 9:30 pm. Please email email@example.com if you would like to volunteer.
And finally, we have Massachusetts-based cookbook author and blogger Tammy Donroe Inman traveling to Salem to share stories and history from her newest cookbook “New England Desserts: Classic and Creative Recipes for all Seasons.” The event is November 6 from 3-5 pm location TBA. Tickets are $50 for the event and a signed copy of the book; $30 for the book only. Please email Beth at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Thankful for Warm Clothing Drive
We will be kicking off our Thankful for Warm Clothing Drive soon. Stay tuned to Facebook for details!
Thanks to the following people:
To Larissa Lucas for finding us a Haitian Creole translator on incredibly short notice.
Thank you to Reginald Cadet for translating our intake forms into Haitian Creole
To Jill D’Orio Coleman. Jill has been incredibly generous over the last few years with donating used and new clothing to us.
To all who have donated to T-Shirt Tuesday. You have no idea how incredibly helpful your generosity has been.
To Coach Angie at Salem High for setting up the wishlist for the clothing pantry.
To Wes Thornett for running a used clothing drive as part of his service learning project at Salem Academy.
Welcome to our newest section. Here we will highlight additional resources available in the community. This month’s list comes courtesy of Jenni Espinal, board member and Family Engagement Specialist for the Saltonstall School. Jenni is a member of Salem Together, a new organization that meets on a monthly basis to brainstorm opportunities for our most vulnerable populations.
Settlement & Education Programs Manager
The House of the Seven Gables
Lynne Krasker Schultz
Manager of Community Engagement
Family Engagement Manager
Salem Public Schools
29 Highland Ave
Salem, MA 01970