A community clothed in support

Clothes closet provides local families access to free clothes


Comal ISD news

The Comal ISD clothes closet is open most Wednesdays and one Saturday of every month.

Two hundred and twenty-five people in Comal County are without a home. A baby is born to a teen parent every five days. More than 400 children are in need of foster care.

And the district’s Clothes Closet, located behind Memorial Early College High School, is doing something to help.

“I saw a need that our students of Comal ISD had, and I was passionate about filling that need,” Parent-Teacher Association president Shirley Koop said.

The clothes closet is a place where families in the district can shop for clothes for free. For students to shop at the closet, they need to get vouchers from their counselors or school nurses and bring those vouchers to the closet. From here, they are able to shop for the allotted amount of clothes. 

“The students are allowed to shop twice in the closet, once in the fall and once in the spring,” Koop said.

Comal ISD
The Comal Council of PTAs collects donations for the clothes closet through drives.

The idea for the clothes closet didn’t just come overnight. When Koop attended a Texas PTA training and heard of other councils who had something like a clothes closet in their districts, she loved the idea.

“I was nervous to take this idea to former Superintendent Mr. Andrew Kim,” Koop said. “But he loved the idea and he helped us make this happen.” 

After lots of planning, the closet opened its doors in 2019.

Every day, four families in need visit the closet and receive 10 tops, 10 bottoms, two heavy jackets, two light jackets and multiple pairs of socks and underwear. 

“We originally started with giving students five tops, five bottoms, five pairs of new socks and underwear, one jacket and one light jacket,” Koop said. “Because of our generous donations, we have been able to double that.”

The fashion club, sponsored by fashion design teacher Shauna Douglass, considered giving the closet a revamp as one of the service projects performed by the club.

“We all know how important it is to have clothes that we like to put on for school,” Douglass said. “We’ve thought about going to the clothes closet and painting, hanging some curtains, and maybe adding some fun lights so that when families bring their kids they feel like it’s a cool place. We also want to do a clothing drive to update some of the styles in the closet.”

Just this past  year during the holidays, the closet partnered with the district to offer clothes to 250 students experiencing homelessness, teen pregnancy and foster care. 

“Our PTA’s came through and ran drives to make this happen,” Koop said. “There were donations of toothbrushes, toothpaste, socks, blankets, deodorant and chapstick. The district provided stuffed animals, snacks and books.”

The closet lifts the burden of spending money on clothes off of a parent’s shoulders.

“I have prayed with parents as I carried the clothes to their cars,” Koop said. “Amanda Jones (Clothes Closet Chair) has told the story of a parent who did not have to worry about Christmas because she was able to get clothes for her children from the Clothes Closet. This is truly a blessing to be able to do this for our students of Comal ISD. You leave completely blessed.”