KYLE, Texas — Picking out a first-day-of-school outfit is a big deal for second-graders like Jaelah Smith.
“I get new clothes, and some of my clothes are tight,” said Jaelah about why she was happy to be at the Hays CISD Clothes Closet, picking out new clothes.
“I know she was a little worried about having new school clothes. You know, first day of school, you want new clothes,” said Jaelah’s mother, Kat Maloney.
But new clothes and school supplies can be expensive, especially when families have other financial responsibilities to worry about.
“We’re struggling now, trying to get ends to meet,” said Maloney. “We're trying to actually find a house right now, so we're trying to budget everything that we can.”
That’s why Esperanza Orosco helped launch the Hays CISD Clothing Closet in 2018 and HaysHope2Go in 2020. They are both housed in a building near Simon Middle School in Kyle. These organizations primarily serve students within Hays CISD.
“Today's the first day that we're open after two years, after COVID closing us down. We had a pickup system,” said Orosco, who is a Hays CISD trustee. “So, this is the first time families can actually shop in-person or they can request to pick up.”
Hays CISD has many families who need assistance.
“After COVID, we had a huge explosion with our homeless population,” said Orosco. “We increased from 125 students to over 400 homeless students.”
There are many more families in need, in addition to students who are homeless.
“Just families that have been either hurt by the economy, or that have lost a job, or are sick, and prices are just skyrocketing,” said Orosco.
While prices are up, Esperanza said so is the generosity of the community, who helps make all of this happen. The goal is to take down any barriers that hinder children from learning at school and enjoying it.
“We want to take that away for our kiddos and let them just focus on school and achieving, and having fun at school,” said Orosco. “That's what it's all about.”
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