WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield High School teacher Jane D'Alessandro, with help from students in the WHS service group Kids on the Block and members of the community, collected 1,025 jeans and pants this year for homeless teens, refugees and people residing in local shelters in a project inspired by dosomething.org.
It was the second year D'Alessandro led the collection. The year before, they collected 1,339 pairs.
“Many people went out of their way to help others,” D’Alessandro said. “Westfieldians have been thoughtful and generous in their support of these collections. WHS teachers have donated and discussed the donations with their students. My neighbors literally emptied closets and drawers to participate.”
In all, this year they collected “1,025 jeans and pants; 43 bags of clothes from many families, which included a pair of Ugg boots worn only twice and three brand-new prom dresses from the same family; beautiful, brand-new baby clothes; and 17 pairs of pants from one of the WHS secretaries who specifically wanted ‘the pants to help someone else have pride in the way she looked,’” D'Alessandro said. “Several of my neighbors loaded my car several times with clothes, books and more to help homeless families.”
Sara Liptack collected 137 pairs of jeans at the Little Free Library at her home in Westfield, D’Alessandro said.
Items collected went to Oasis Shelter for Women and Children in Paterson, The Center for Hope and Healing in Paramus, Streetlight Mission in Elizabeth, Center for Medically Fragile Mothers and Children, political refugees and the Urban Renewal Corporation of Union County, according to D’Alessandro.
For now, she is not collecting more items.
“I encourage students to check out do something.org for community service campaigns, which offer the opportunity to earn scholarship money, as well,” D’Alessandro said.