Francisca Herrera moved from North Carolina several weeks ago because a friend told her Manatee County was a good place to raise her six young children and find economic opportunities.
“I came here for my kids,” Herrera said Tuesday.
Herrera’s boys are Iker, 2; Kean, 3; and Eduardo, 7. Her girls are Lisset, 5; Brenda, 11; and Ashley, 12.
Herrera, a single mom, quickly got a job with a residential cleaning agency and she used her savings to secure a local apartment.
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With four of her six children going to Manatee schools in August, Herrera realized she didn’t have nice clothes for them for that first day of class and no money set aside to purchase them.
“My kids need clothes and shoes,” Herrera said. “I don’t have a lot of money.”
Her friend once again made a recommendation — The Children’s Clothing Closet at Turning Points at the Bill Galvano One Stop Center, 701 17th Ave. W., Bradenton — a place where needy families can get free clothing for children.
With school about to start, we desperately need kid’s clothes and are asking for the public’s help. We need donations of all sizes, girls and boys, like infant up to tween but mostly we are really short on girls clothing, 2T all the way up to size 16. In boys we need a lot of tween or teenage style.
Margi Dawson, Turning Points’ spokeswoman
Although she was able to find a few free items on the clothes racks Tuesday, Herrera discovered the usually filled closet is looking more threadbare. Many of the six racks are nearly empty. All sizes are needed.
“With school about to start, we desperately need kids clothes and are asking for the public’s help,” said Margi Dawson, a Turning Points spokeswoman, while glancing Tuesday at thin clothing racks. “We need donations of all sizes, girls and boys, like infant up to tween, but mostly we are really short on girls clothing, 2T all the way up to size 16. In boys, we need a lot of tween or teenage style.”
During summer, it is common for donations to slow, but this year has been particularly difficult because there has also been an increase in families coming for help, said Bernadette Darabseh, chief attendant of the donation center.
“We are seeing about five families a day with on average, four kids per family,” Darabseh said.
Although the Children’s Clothing Closet gets donations of new children’s underwear and socks from Walmart, more underwear and socks are needed, Darabseh said.
“The underwear and socks fly out of here,” Darabseh added.
The Clothing Closet, recently renovated into a warm and welcoming place by the young women of the Junior League of Manatee County, is part of Turning Points’ Open Door Resource Center. Those who seek donations will speak to a staff member to be qualified for the program, Dawson said.
“But most everyone who has a need is helped,” Dawson added.
Those who would like to donate to the Herrera family can bring a bag of clothes to Turning Points with the name “Herrera” written on it, Dawson said.
General donations of children’s clothing can be brought to the Donation Center at Turning Points, 705 17th Ave. W. Bradenton from 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday..
“Just pull your car in front of the double doors and an attendant will come out and help you,” Dawson said.