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FBLA student organization at Mandan High School uses clothing to give back to the community



Mandan, North Dakota – A student organization at Mandan High School was completing a community service project that would benefit others in the area.

Students from Mandan High School Future Business Leaders of America were hard at work on Saturday inside Closet 701 in Bismarck, preparing donated products for an impending event. Two of the students that planned the garment drive as a community service activity were Harper Wilkens and Kelbi Pritchett. When they called Closet 701, they learned that they were in desperate need of kids’ clothes. Initially, they considered creating business attire for job seekers.

“They said that’s not really what they are looking for, and that they had to limit how many items kids could walk out of here with. As winter was approaching, we saw this as a major issue, so we went back to our chapter, talked with our members, and we decided to do a kid’s clothing drive,” said Harper Wilkens, Member, Mandan High School FBLA.

The next step was to consider potential donation sources after deciding on the type of campaign they would hold. Three separate elementary schools, Mandan High School, and a few locations in Kirkwood Mall had boxes set up by the FBLA. Students claim that the generosity of donors was tremendous

“I knew that this would be a big project, but I didn’t think it was going to be as big as it was. Harper had two cars full and I had another carful this morning. Everyone was reaching out to their families and everyone at the grade schools were bringing stuff. It’s really cool to see a community come together,” said Kelbi Pritchett, Member of Mandan High School FBLA.

According to Wilkens, children outgrow their clothes quickly and require new ones on a regular basis. Additionally, some families are unable to purchase a large wardrobe or adequate winter gear. This drive, she claims, will assist with that problem.

“So being able to come here and pick out their own clothes, being able to walk home and go out to recess with a coat on and not have to stay inside because you don’t have that or even just picking out their own clothes and not getting whatever hand me down, being like I want the pink one instead of the blue one. That’s just something that gives kids some creativity of their own,” said Wilkens.

According to both participants, this project has taught them a lot about what it means to be a part of a community.

“The community is only as strong as its weakest member. If we are not out here helping people who can’t help themselves, it all goes around. I believe that in some way we are going to be repaid if you would for what we are doing here. We are putting our work and effort out there to help the kids, and it’s going to be repaid even if it’s just seeing a smile on their face if they get something new,” said Pritchett.

The organization’s members all hope that this will, at least a small bit, assist their neighborhood this season.

This event will take place at Closet 701 on December 2nd from 9 AM to 12 PM. Individuals are able to shop for free and select what they require.