Decas Foundation effort works to pair kids in need with new school clothes

Jul 27, 2022

For many kids, the first day of school is the time to show off a chic new look for the school year.

But back-to-school clothes can be expensive.  

Through the John W. Decas Community Center Foundation, Jody Santagate and Leslie Edwards-Davis are spearheading an effort to pair kids in need with new duds for the school year.

“The first day of school is always a big day for the kiddos, and as a kid, you want to go back wearing your best outfit,” Santagate said.

As a single mother, Santagate said that the hardest times of year financially were Christmas and back-to-school. While there are many programs that connect families with holiday gifts or school supplies, there aren’t as many that help kids get the new clothes they need for the school year.

Just a few hours after sharing the form through which families can request help, Santagate said she already had a list of 30 kids in need.

“The need for help is great,” Santagate said.

All requests for help will be anonymized and kept confidential, she said. 

The process is similar to many programs held around Christmas. Donors can choose an anonymous child to sponsor and are given information about their size and taste. They then would go and purchase an outfit or two and shoes, which will be given to the child. 

Santagate said that people can also donate gift cards to places like Target or J.C. Penney, gently used clothes and shoes. She urged people to give what they can.

“We can only help as many kids as we have sponsors,” Santagate said. I truly believe that the Wareham I know is going to come through.”

Santagate said that the group is piloting the back-to-school effort this year with the hope it will become an annual event. 

All donations should be dropped off on or by August 20, with a tentative distribution date to families on August 27. More details to come. 

To sign up to sponsor, click here. To sign a child up to receive clothes, click here. 

For more information, go to or email