Clothing drive helps families before school starts

Aug 27, 2022

Over 130 kids received new school outfits from a clothing drive organized by the Decas Community Center Foundation, organizer Jody Santagate said during the drive’s final day on Saturday.

“This is just truly humbling to see,” Santagate said as she peered around the gym of the former Decas school, where clothes covered tables, chairs and filled bags that would be handed to families later in the day.

The drive was made possible by many sponsors and organizations who helped buy and donate clothes for families, Santagate said.

Donors sponsored individual children and were given anonymized information about kids in need, like their age, clothing sizes and favorite colors. Donors then bought new outfits for their sponsored students, which were packaged into bags and given to families on Saturday.

Also at the drive this weekend was Walt’s Mobile Closet, a new organization based out of Mattapoisett and run by Whitney Tully. She brought several racks and tubs of clothing to Decas on Saturday for families to choose from.

The mobile closet, which Tully said she started about six months ago, covers the South Coast and Upper Cape, handing out donated clothing for people of all ages. The organization is named for her late father Walt, Tully said, who loved clothes and was always a “dapper dresser.”

Across the gym, Mary Jane Driscoll was covering a table with package after package of socks. She said her company, Bradburys Driving School, donated about $1,000 worth of socks for the drive.

“I tried to buy a big variety,” she said, arranging packs of kids’ and adults’ socks. “Everybody needs socks.”

At the front of the gym, Santagate helped welcome families and pointed them toward their respective bags of clothing and the rest of the gym’s offerings.

She gave credit to Covanta, which she said helped the drive out earlier this week when 14 kids on the drive’s waitlist might have otherwise been turned away.

When she called the company about the waitlist on Wednesday, Santagate said they soon went shopping for the 14 children.

“They filled our gap,” she said.