Dressing the future: Swap and Shop set Saturday

CHIMACUM — When Anne Schneider was growing up, she looked forward every fall to receiving a big cardboard box containing dresses her cousin had outgrown — dresses that, technically, were hand-me-downs.

But to the young girl receiving them, they were new outfits for the upcoming school year.

“I loved it, and Mother loved it,” Schneider said. “She didn’t have enough money to buy me a new wardrobe every year. It was a win-win situation.”

To give every child the chance to have some nearly new clothes for school, Schneider has organized the first Back to School Swap and Shop.

The idea: to bring in good used school clothes that children have outgrown and receive a coupon for that number of items in exchange. People can also buy clothes for $1 an item.

All the clothes for the Swap and Shop must be clean and in good shape, with no stains or tears.

“Everything is being looked at closely,” Schneider said.

Schneider has an eye for clothes. She and Ruth Merrryman started Working Image, a clothing bank for women entering the work force. The clothes are good quality, professional clothing donated or purchased at resale shops.

Olympic Community Action Programs, which sponsors Working Image, also is providing space for the Swap and Shop at the Tri-Area Community Center, across from the Chimacum Schools campus on Rhody Drive.

On Monday, Lynda Pollard, Judy McCutchen, Randi Cox, Ruth Merryman and Judi Edwards were hanging up racks of jackets and hoodies and sorting piles of jeans.

One large box contained young girl’s clothing, mostly pink, including dance clothes and ballet slippers.

Clothes for infants, toddlers and school children will be available, Schneider said.

“We also have shoes, backpacks and lunch boxes,” she said.

Schneider got the idea a few months ago when she saw a news story about a community that held a back-to-school clothing swap and thought “What a cool idea for us.”

To get the word out, she made up flyers to send home with children on the last day of school, posted the information on the Chimacum and Port Townsend school districts’ Web sites and had notices handed out at local food banks.

Now her only concern is that people will come.

“It would be a shame to waste all these clothes,” she said.

Children can shop with parents, grandparents or other adult, Schneider said. Some of the clothing brought in Monday are name brand items, including Gap, Roxy, Old Navy, Gymboree and Hanna Andersson.

Clothes will be accepted every day this week from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Tri-Area Community Center.

People can also bring clothes to Swap Day, on Saturday at 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the center.

Volunteers are needed to work Saturday, and will get to “pre-shop” from an hour before the event opens to the public, Schneider said.

For more information, phone Schneider at 360-379-8752.

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Port Townsend/Jefferson County reporter-columnist Jennifer Jackson can be reached at jjackson@olypen.com.

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