School is almost back in session, and with that it means back-to-school shopping for students.
However, not all can meet the demand for new clothes, backpacks and school supplies in northern Box Elder County. With that in mind, staff and students at Bear River Middle School will be hosting their annual Swap n’ Shop clothing event Aug. 2-3, at the Tremonton LDS Stake Center located at 660 N. 300 E. in Tremonton.
On Friday, Aug. 2, doors will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Donations are still greatly needed and can be dropped off anytime during those hours on those two days or at the Leader office, 2 East Main Street, Tremonton, on Wednesday, July 31, and Thursday, Aug. 1, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The event is a service project that started with Jamie Kent, a former administrator at BRMS about five years ago. Since then Kacee Udy, a teacher at BRMS and advisor to the student council, as well as Kelli Rose, a counselor at BRMS and Shamra Nielsen, a teacher at the school have organized the event. All of them, as well as members of the BRMS student council, spend hours and hours sorting through clothes and organizing them into sizes to get the event ready for the community.
“When we first did it, it was here at the school for two hours,” Udy said.
“And that wasn’t enough,” added Rose.
They moved the clothing swap to the stake center down the street from Bear River High and kept it going for two full days. The response they received was phenomenal.
“There was not one minute during the entire two days that there were not people in there looking for clothes,” Udy said.
Taking that success, and the need in the community for more clothing swaps, the school hosted a Christmas clothing and gift swap last December. It turned out to be even bigger than the back-to-school swap.
That event was just a one day swap with the addition of donations of new and gently used toys. They will continue that swap again this year.
“It was so successful,” Udy said. People generously donated to the swap and not just used items, but new ones, too.
Donations for this week’s swap are low and they are encouraging people to clean out their closets for a good cause. Udy added that they are low on children’s clothes, size five and smaller, and school supplies this year.
“We would love small clothes because people come in for that too,” she said.
Donations of gently used clothes in infant to adult sizes are accepted as well as backpacks (new or used) and school supplies. Any and all are invited to shop and donations aren’t required to shop and take home clothes or school supplies. One helpful favor they ask is for donations to be divided by size to help save time, but that isn’t required.
“We’ll gladly take whatever,” Udy said.
“And we don’t mind sorting,” added Nielsen
After the event is over, members of the Bear River lacrosse team volunteer to help clean up, a service they greatly appreciate.
“We have a lot of people that come up to us and say thank you,” Udy recalled. Many of them weren’t able to afford new school clothes for their children.
“The more we do it, the more people look forward to it,” said Rose.
They estimated they served 300 to 500 people and it doesn’t matter what their income or situation is.
“Anybody can come,” Udy said.
“It’s free and it doesn’t cost anything,” added Nielsen.
“Our community is really generous but there’s also a huge need,” Udy said.