Community Closet Provides Necessities to Shorians


Arnecia Paul

Community Closet

Arnecia Paul, Staff Writer

High school can be tough, but it can be even more difficult if you don’t have your basic necessities. 

High school is supposed to be a safe and inviting place for everyone to learn and be happy, but it’s not fun when students are stressed especially over basic necessities. The community closet here at Lake Shore High School is to support students from all walks of life with a variety of needs by providing all kinds of basic necessities to ensure they are meeting those basic needs. 

The community closet is a place where students who are in need can get personal hygiene and toiletry items. Students can get things ranging from toothbrushes, deodorant, chapsticks to laundry detergent, school supplies, socks and so much more. Students can simply walk in, get what they need, and walk out all in private. The closet is run by Michelle Anerson, Special Education Teacher Consultant; Kaylee Fermoyle, Speech Pathologist; Helen Buyse, Social Worker; and Paige May, Special Education Teacher. 

Fermoyle describes the closet as, “A point where students can get any basic needs met in terms of day-to-day products like toiletries and hygiene products.” There are a lot of students that are not  having their day-to-day needs met, so by providing this closet it is giving students a place where they know for sure they can have those needs met.

Anderson explains, “Invision if you woke up and you had nothing like your day-to-day stuff. It’s a place where you can get supplies, so you can get your day-to-day needs met. Like all the stuff you’ll need for the whole day.”

The community closet was an idea formed at the professional teacher development day the district provides teachers. Anderson said, “We were lucky to have these inspiration days so that’s where this invloed from because it gave us a little bit more freedom. We have a lot of different projects but this was something with that little extra time we could organize and brainstorm different ideas. It didn’t take a lot to get off the ground because everyone was really receptive to it but this came out of that.”

The Community Closet got started because it was very clear that students were in need of day to day products.

This project was something very meaningful to bring to Lake Shore especially to Anderson. Anderson explains, “When I was growing up we didn’t have this, but my family did receive support from The Lions Club. There’s nothing crazier because growing up my family had this nice house, big family, and we were well known, but we were extremely compromised financially. People would show up on Christmas with a turkey and meal for all of us because we didn’t have it. The Lions Club would give us gifts like backpacks and we needed it. I had clothes that were from the thrift shop and nobody knew, so sometimes that could be misgiving and it was like, ‘wow I didn’t expect this because things shifted very fast in my family and so having lived that experience that I hope other students will not feel that way.’ I didn’t know but my school knew and there were people that cared about us that made sure we had things.” 

This project was also meaningful to Fermoyle because growing up her mom did something similar to this. Fermoyle said, “My mom is a school counselor at a different school, and she has something very similar to this. She started it, and, from a very young age, I was really involved in hers. When Ms. Anderson brought up this idea, I was like absolutely because I kind of helped my mom.” 

The community closet is opened to more than just students, it’s for everyone! Fermoyle says, “Really anyone. Anyone that comes in here, I’m not going to ask questions. Some people have opened up as to why they need certain things, but I am not going to sit over your shoulder. I’m just going to sit at my desk and let you do your thing.”

You do not even have to be someone in need to utilize the community closet. Throughout the school day things may happen or you may realize you need something, so you can simply walk in and get what you need. 

Anderson also adds, “Feel free to walk in. You can stop by and just check it out.”

One goal the community closet hopes to achieve is to remove the stigma of asking for help. Fermoyle explains, “For one thing I just want to tackle the stigma of asking for help, that’s one thing I want to achieve from this. I do not want there to be shame in asking for help, so for the community closet I want it to be this kind of open space for people. I want it to be a comfortable thing, so that’s one of my goals and obviously to help people.” That’s a big reason as to why students are in need, because they feel ashamed to ask for help and accept help because they feel as if their pride is taken away from them. 

Anderson said another goal they hope to achieve is, “Also to empower people to ask for help. We don’t want them to feel the shame that I felt. We don’t want you to think about it, so if you need it just get it because it’s a part of life and this is something we can do as an outreach.”

Students can get involved with the community closet and help it grow! Anderson exclaims, “This is a student-based thing so how students can get involved is by passing the word, because you guys can be a part of removing the stigma of asking for help because you may know somebody. You guys know better than we do. We are always open to donations but just getting the word out and helping one another.”

This is a great way for students to not only be involved but to help give back to one another. When it comes to the community closet, if you need something, take something, and if you have something extra, leave something for others.