Students and staff at Penhold Crossing are working with their community to make a difference for students who could benefit from access to free clothing. The school has started a thrift store for clothing, with every item available for free to any staff or student.

“The project was spearheaded by people in our building that noticed a need for our kids,” said Clark Peters, Principal of Penhold Crossing School. “It’s been tremendous to see our community come together to support this project. We’ve been overwhelmed with donations.”

Peters said when Penhold residents make donations for clothing or to the food bank, those donations generally go to facilities in Red Deer. Yet, sometimes families in Penhold who could benefit from the donations may not have transportation to get to Red Deer.

Knowing that, Penhold teacher Kristy Blair and Educational Assistant Jane Greenwood took on the challenge of creating a thrift store in the high school. The community jumped in right behind them with a huge response. When the thrift store opened for the first time, and for two days, 412 donated clothing items found new owners. “Every time 4 more bags of donations came in, the place was buzzing,” said Peters. “It was almost overwhelming to manage, and the donations completely took over the storage room and a conference space for a while.

photo of thrift shop

Blair said the equity piece was intentional; having the store be open to everyone to access and having the items be free of charge, “totally removed any barriers for students who needed to access this resource.”

Students were involved in running the thrift store as well. From sorting and organizing donated clothing to crowd control, students who were involved had the opportunity to learn new skills.

Penhold Crossing plans to open the thrift store for students to access one or two days a month. Individuals who wish to make donations should call the school at 403-886-8604 to make arrangements for drop off.