Students open closet to help other classmates

Local News

HOUTZDALE, CLEARFIELD COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ)– Students at Moshannon Valley High School opened a closet where students in need can get free clothing and school supplies.

Students in the school’s Friends of Rachel Club wanted to bring it to their district after hearing about free clothing closets at other schools.

The idea started out small and quickly grew.

“We had to get some donations at first, get the idea out there and we started out with one or two things,” senior Austin Beirlair said. “We had a rack full and a table full and then eventually it just kind of led to the room it is now.”

It’s all because of community donations, which they’re always accepting to keep the closet stocked.

Students in need of clothing or school supplies can fill out an online form requesting what they need.

“We can meet some of those other needs that they have so they don’t have to worry about walking home in the snow without a jacket,” teacher Dorothy Benjamin said. “Those basic needs are met so they should be able to further their education.”

For the students, this is a project they pour a lot of time and attention into.

“The students involved, they are really passionate about it,” teacher Abby Houston said. “If they have a study hall, or they stay after school, they’ll come down and they’ll do like laundry and they’re just really into it.”

That’s because they know they are doing something that can spread kindness and positivity, which is the mission of the Friends of Rachel Club.

“It’s really nice to know that we’re doing something nice for others and to help them out when they really can’t do anything to help themselves,” junior Abby Wilson said.

“It feels good to do this for people who can’t afford most of the stuff, it just helps a lot of us to know each other better too,” 7th grader Maddie McCoy said.

The closet will also be used as a learning opportunity for special education students to practice life skills.

“It will allow them to learn skills that are transferable,” special education teacher Tina Lewis said. “So once they have this environment to learn their skills, then they’ll be able to transfer those to a work environment.”

Students have plans to continue growing Rachel’s Locker grow. They would like to expand it into the elementary school and bring the idea to other school districts.

“It just gives me the chills to know that they are the ones making a difference at such a young age to help others, you don’t see that all the time,” assistant principal Justin Fye said.

The closet opened around three weeks ago and has helped a dozen students so far.

To donate, you can call Justin Fye at Moshannon Valley High School at 814- 378-7616 ext. 2002. Or you can email him at

Friends of Rachel Club is an initiative across the country named after a victim of the Columbine shooting, which encourages acts of kindness in school communities to prevent future violence.

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