New Clothes For Kids Inc. comes to Elizabethton

By Jennifer Lassiter
star staff
jlassiter@starhq.com

  New Clothes for Kid's Inc. will be warming up this winter with a kind heart and giving hands as they host their first Cold Weather Festival in Carter County at the Elizabethton Boys and Girls Club on Oct. 16.
  The non-profit organization is centered around serving the community by providing new and comfortable shoes, clothing and personal care items to economically disadvantaged children.
  The group has been up and running within the region for approximately six years, and helping several counties in East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. "This is the first time we have branched out to Carter County," said one of board of directors, John Flanagan. "We plan to expand to Unicoi and Johnson counties if the funding is available."
  Clothes for Kids is based out of Kingsport, where they have a single warehouse to stock coats and clothes for kids. The clothes are new, name-brand clothes that are bought out of season and wholesale.
  Each child is recommended by a school faculty member, or teacher, which sends home an application to the parents. According to Flanagan, many parents were happy to get a helping hand. Some even drew smiley faces on the applications. Once they are approved, they receive a package which includes leather shoes, two outfits, underwear, socks, and a winter coat.
  "We are trying to improve their self-esteem by allowing them to be relaxed and confident at school," said Flanagan.
  Applications were sent to all county and city schools, and according to Flanagan, 165 applications were returned. On Oct. 16 the whole family will come and pick up the packages at the Elizabethton Boys and Girls Club. Refreshments, games, and face painting will also be a part of the festival.
  "This is the first time we are doing this in this area. We will experience some growing pains but we are already seeing involvement from the community," said Flanagan.
  Flanagan spoke at the Kiwanis Club meeting on Tuesday, and is trying to raise awareness within the community. To help, please call (423) 292-1778 or www.newclothesforkids.org.
  "In my perspective, we are trying to help needy children. I always want children to be the focus of school and in life, that's what this is all about," said Flanagan.