One day, on her way to take out the trash, Carolyn Collins heard a knock on the door of the cafeteria at the school she’d been working at. When she opened the door, she saw two students who were anxious to finally get inside the school, even though they didn’t start class for two more hours. According to the kids, who turned out to be brother and sister, they had been living in a car, along with their mother. That day, she had to drop them off to school earlier than usual, so they could get ready in the school’s bathrooms.
Collins made it her job to help these kids in need, so she provided some breakfast. That was four years ago, and the exact time that she made a plan to start a "giving closet" for the kids in the school. She would provide the kids with anything they need, like food, clothes, hygiene items, and even shoes, and all of it would be for free. She figured that high school was already difficult enough for the teens, without the added pressure of financial instability, so she had to help them out, especially since the two kids mentioned weren’t the only ones in trouble.
After work that same day, she went to a few different stores, where she spent a couple of hundred dollars for food, school supplies, and toiletries. The next day, she went to the principal to notify the administration of her newfound goal, hoping they would find her a suitable place in the school.
This was back in 2014, and for the past 4 years, her "giving closet" has been running smoothly. Any student who is in need of anything simply quietly mentions the items to Collins, she opens the closet and they can take whatever it is that they need. According to the school’s principal, if an item is not readily available in the "giving closet" Collins will even go out of her way to find and supply that item for the students, which further shows her giving nature. Furthermore, according to Collins herself, so far, she has helped around 150 with her closet, out of the 1,800 who attend the school. And at any point in time, there are about 15 kids who are homeless during the school year, so having this kind of support is really helpful.
These days, aside from her spending a few hundred dollars per month to stock the closet with the basics, there are plenty of teachers and even other students who donate items to Collins’ closet. Collins also says she hopes other schools open similar closets as well. She said “When I tell them, ‘I love you,’ and I see the smiles on their faces, that’s pure joy. Everybody needs somebody. Seeing that they know they are loved, that’s my reward.”