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Sally Gonzalez, a third-grade student at Jefferson Elementary, stepped into the girl’s department at the Target store in Harlingen. With racks of clothing towering over her, she considered her options. Should she go with sparkly, vibrant, textured or patterned?

Her eyes grew wide as she sifted through all of the different varieties of pants available to her. Taking one from the pile, she called out cheerfully, “Kitty leggings!”

Sally was among 40 students from the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District chosen to participate in a day of shopping on October 22 as part of a $4,000 grant from the Rotary Club of Harlingen and Rotary District 5930.

“We are very proud and thankful for the work that the Rotary Club of Harlingen does in reaching out to the community and today is a prime example of that,” said Superintendent Dr. Art Cavazos. “Our kids are getting the opportunity to shop for things that they need because of our Rotary. This kind of partnership is what makes our district what it is. We have a great community that comes out and supports our kids to ensure they have a great meaningful experience in school and that they don’t lack for basic needs.”

With individualized shopping lists and $100 gift cards in hand for each of the participants, Rotarian volunteers familiarized themselves with the students while helping them make their clothing selections.

Being well aware of the need for contributions at the Clothing Closet, Jessica Belschner, President of the Rotary Club of Harlingen decided to find a way to help. She submitted a grant proposal requesting $2,000 in funds from Rotary District 5930 to help buy clothes for students in need. The Rotary Club of Harlingen matched that amount to bring the total to $4,000 for the benefit of HCISD students.

“Through my job at the United Way, I work in close collaboration with Parental Involvement, so I know of the vast need at the Clothing Closet,” said Belschner. “Days like today I am reminded of why I joined Rotary. I want to thank HCISD, Target and especially my fellow Rotarians for making this day a success.”

“All of us know that when we dress well, it boosts our self-esteem and self-confidence, which in turn allows for personal growth,” said Dr. Jose Luis Cavazos, Director of Parental Involvement/ Dropout Prevention. “We are incredibly grateful for organizations like the Rotary Club of Harlingen. Many people may not know the impact they are having by donating to the Clothing Closet, but contributions like these go a long way for our students.”

The HCISD Clothing Closet is a resource available to HCISD students and their families at the Parental Involvement/Dropout Prevention Office at 905 E. Tyler. The Clothing Closet is a service program supported by the generous donations from local businesses, community members, and HCISD staff. Gently used clothing, school supplies, and other miscellaneous items are available for families.

Click here for more photos of the event.

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