Mandan High School FBLA student organization gives back to community through clothes

Published: Nov. 18, 2023 at 6:16 PM CST
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MANDAN, N.D. (KFYR) - Members of a Mandan High School student organization were putting the finishing touches on a service project aimed at supporting those in the community.

Inside Closet 701in Bismarck on Saturday, students from the Mandan High School Future Business Leaders of America organization were busy at work getting donated items ready for an upcoming event.

Harper Wilkens and Kelbi Pritchett are two of the students who organized the clothing drive as a community service project. They contacted Closet 701 who said they were in dire need of children’s clothing. At first, they were thinking of doing business clothes for those looking for work.

“They said that’s not really what they are looking for, and that they had to limit how many items kids could walk out of here with. As winter was approaching, we saw this as a major issue, so we went back to our chapter, talked with our members, and we decided to do a kid’s clothing drive,” said Wilkens.

After figuring out what kind of drive they were going to have, the next part was thinking of places to get donations. The FBLA set up boxes in Mandan High School, three different grade schools and a couple of spots in the Kirkwood Mall.

Students said the outpouring of donations was overwhelming.

“I knew that this would be a big project, but I didn’t think it was going to be as big as it was. Harper had two cars full and I had another carful this morning. Everyone was reaching out to their families and everyone at the grade schools were bringing stuff. It’s really cool to see a community come together,” said Pritchett.

Wilkens said kids grow out of clothes really fast and they need new clothes constantly and there are some families that can’t afford a lot of clothes or winter gear. She said this drive will help with that issue.

“So being able to come here and pick out their own clothes, being able to walk home and go out to recess with a coat on and not have to stay inside because you don’t have that or even just picking out their own clothes and not getting whatever hand me down, being like ‘I want the pink one instead of the blue one,’ that’s just something that gives kids some creativity of their own,” said Wilkens.

By doing this project, both members say they’ve learned a lot about what it means to be part of a community.

“The community is only as strong as its weakest member. If we are not out here helping people who can’t help themselves, it all goes around. I believe that in some way we are going to be repaid, if you would, for what we are doing here. We are putting our work and effort out there to help the kids, and it’s going to be repaid even if it’s just seeing a smile on their face if they get something new,” said Pritchett.

All members of the organization hope this will help their community just a little bit more this season.

The day of this event will be December 2 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Closet 701. People can shop for free and pick out whatever they need.