Clothes to Kids Denver is a non-profit organization that provides free clothing for low-income, school-aged children. On Friday, April 4, the Cat Walk Club, comprising students from the Johnson & Wales University fashion merchandising program, will have host its annual Diver City fashion show, with a portion of the proceeds going to Clothes to Kids Denver. In advance of that event, we spoke to Katie Jones, executive director of Clothes to Kids Denver, about the organization and its partnership with the Cat Walk Club.
Westword: Tell us about Clothes to Kids and the service you offer
Katie Jones: The mission of Clothes to Kids Denver (CTKD) is to provide new and quality used clothing to school-aged children from low-income families in Denver County, free of charge. A CTKD wardrobe consists of five tops, four bottoms (shorts, pants or skirts), one dress (optional), one pair of shoes, one coat and five pairs of new socks and underwear. Shoppers are also invited to select "extras," which may include accessories, toys, games and books.
CTKD serves students from families experiencing poverty, job loss, homelessness or displacement, as well as children and youth in foster care. CTKD envisions a community in which every school-age child has quality clothing so that he or she can attend school with the confidence and self-esteem needed to achieve academic success. CTKD strives to make an impact on each individual student it serves, providing him or her with a high level of personalized service and the opportunity to select clothing in a store-like environment with the help of volunteer personal shoppers.
How many kids benefit from your organization each year?
We are growing fast and have given away more than 16,200 wardrobes since September of 2008. Clothes to Kids gave away 4,077 wardrobes in 2013 and we currently have 350 student shoppers per month.
What kind of clothing do you need the most?
Clothes to Kids accepts any clothing item that would fit a kindergarten through twelve-grade student, so basically clothing that is size 5T- adult. Our greatest needs are pants for boys and girls, shoes (kids size 13 to adult size 13), school uniforms, short sleeve shirts (especially for older boys) and warm winter coats. Donations that are clean and ready to give to kids are very helpful! Tell us about your partnership with the Johnson & Wales University Cat Walk Club. How did you come together?
Students from Johnson & Wales have been volunteering at Clothes to Kids for more than two years -- either for fun or as part of a class requirement. Many of the volunteers who were coming to us were in the J&W fashion program, which is how we became familiar with the Cat Walk Club. Students from this club tend to have quite a bit of retail and fashion experience, which has really benefited the shoppers at Clothes to Kids. We host one volunteer group a month and eagerly await their visit!
The Diver City Fashion Show is a fundraiser for Clothes to Kids and the Cat Walk Club. Other than the show itself, what else can we expect?
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I know that organizers from Cat Walk have planned some awesome perks for VIP guests, including pre-show hors d'oeuvres, drinks and special door prizes. The fun will continue for everyone during intermission and after the show, when guests will be able to shop designs from the local designers featured in the show. Representatives from Clothes to Kids will be on hand to spread the word about its impact in the community and will be selling $10 "game of skill" tickets, which will give guests the opportunity to win a new 2014 Ford Mustang. It will be a great time for all! Doors open for the Diver City Fashion Show at 5:30 p.m. Friday, April 4, at the Forney Museum of Transportation. Student tickets start at $17, general admission are $22 and $43 VIP tickets include a special happy hour from 6 to 7 p.m. as well as a swag bag. For tickets or more information, go to Clothes to Kids Denver.org