East High School opens urban clothing store for needy students

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Have you started back to school shopping? According to one study, this year alone parents will spend on average almost $600 getting their child ready for fall. An important part of heading back to the classroom? The clothes of course.

News10NBC visited East High School Monday to check out its brand-new Urban Clothing Store where everything is priced to sell.

We all know every kid wants to look their best. In that study, parents say they’ll spend at least $140 on clothes alone this fall. East High school leaders are trying to help ease the burden.

“This collection has only been going on for a couple of weeks, and we have pretty much almost reached the capacity of our space,” said Luis Zarate, East High’s Community School Coordinator.

As one of the largest community schools in Rochester, East High is making sure it’s neediest families and students don’t have to struggle this school year. As a community school, East offers other services as well, such as a food pantry and health clinic, so that students can focus on their schoolwork, and not on other issues they’re having.

The school’s Urban Clothing Store is up and running, providing both free clothes and footwear for students who can’t afford them. Zarate says a lot of thought went into setting up the store.

“Just thinking about their self-esteem level and how it makes them feel entering the closet, and just setting up the way they would feel as if they were shopping at the mall. So, it’s just giving them that sense of appeal when they come here,” says Zarate.

Using the East High School Facebook page, the school turned to the community for help.

“They answered back by dropping off bags and bags of you know, used, or newer gently used clothing and again we asked, and they responded,” said Zarate.

Donations are still being accepted so that there are plenty of options for students to get them through the whole year.

“Traditional clothing, tops and bottoms, footwear, and you know we’re in Rochester, New York. So, we have a big collection drive for winter coats and accessories as well as school supplies, and also hygiene equipment as well,” said Zarate.

School Superintendent Marlene Blocker explains how students will shop the store.

“The scholars will indicate to someone, or personally self-advocate that they have a need. They will be brought down here to select from the items that we have to take care of their needs,” said Blocker.

“We have a full health clinic here,” said Blocker. She continued, “We have a dental clinic. We have a food pantry. We have a vision clinic that supplies eyeglasses for our scholars. We also have a barber shop here that provides haircuts.”

As part of their community services hours students will help operate the Urban Clothing Store. Their jobs will include cleaning and sorting the donated clothes and footwear. If you want to donate you can drop off items at the school during business hours.