Centennial Regional High School creates thrift shop for students in need of clothing

Everyone has that one memory of being in school and dealing with the embarrassment of ruined clothes. Falling in mud, spilling food or ripping a hole in the seat of your pants are all situations no one wants to be put in, especially in a school environment where you’re surrounded by peers all day.

To help students get through unfortunate clothing mishaps, Elaine Roberge, who teaches English, History, and POP (Personal Orientation Project) at Centennial Regional High School in Longueuil, QC, put together a thrift shop for students.

The idea came to Elaine last year: “A student ripped her jeans while at school. She came to me looking for help,” she recalls. “I went over to our front office to ask if we had anything we could lend her and there was nothing. I was redirected to the counselling department, who gave me some old, ill-fitting gym shorts.”

Realizing the options weren’t appealing, Elaine lent the student a pair of workout pants she luckily had in her bag. “I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great of there was somewhere students could go to get clothing if something of this nature happens?’”

The thrift shop isn’t officially open for business yet, but donations are already pouring in. “We simply put an announcement in our school newsletter and on our school Facebook page,” explains Elaine. “People were donating so much that we temporarily had to put a stop to it because our space isn’t big enough!”

Already, the store has provided students with winter jackets, boots, and clothing items of need. “Everything in the thrift store will be for sale to any student in the building, at a reasonable or low cost. However, a student who is in need, due to an emergency or due to a particular home situation, will be given items for free.”

Elaine received a small grant to purchase equipment such as poles, hangers, and brackets. Also in the thrift shop space is a wall covered with pegboards, so hooks for handbags and shelving for shoes are coming in the near future. There are also plans to build a prom section filled with affordable prom attire, as that time of year quickly approaches.

Students and teachers alike are getting involved in many ways, from mural painting to advertising campaigns, store management to volunteer staff. “The response has been extremely positive!” says Elaine. “Both teachers and students love the idea, not to mention the students we are helping are pleased and feel more comfortable accepting help from familiar faces in a familiar environment.”

There are plans for the thrift shop’s grand opening event so be sure to check out the blog in the near future to see those pictures!