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Even Girl Scouts Love Sterifab: The Story of Christy’s Clothing Pantry

Updated: Oct 31, 2019


We get a lot of phone calls at our Sterifab offices. Nothing unusual there. People want to know how to use Sterifab, where they can buy it, how much it costs, and, of course, dealers who buy in bulk for later resale want to know about the latest deals.


Recently, we got a really unusual call. It was from a 15-year old ninth grader from Clinton-Massie High School, in Clarksville, Ohio. Her name is Christina T and she needed our help with a project she was doing for her Girl Scout Gold Award in Leadership.


When we heard this, we were a little nonplussed. How could Sterifab possibly help this young lady with her project? Needless to say, we were intrigued. Wouldn’t you be?




But rather than giving you our account of what transpired, we thought Christy (as she prefers to be called) could tell you in her own words. So, we interviewed her over the phone, and what follows is an edited version of that conversation.



Sterifab:

So, Christy. Tell us about your project?


Christy:

Sure. My project is going to be a “Clothing Pantry” for the Clinton-Massie community. It’ll serve anyone who comes in once a month to our school (during the same time as the food pantry) to pick up free clothes. It could also be used by the nurse/school staff if students have accidents, get sick, etc. I plan to have clothing for all ages. And, to kickstart my project, I plan to have a clothing drive.


Sterifab:

That sounds like a great idea. Why did you choose a project like this? There must be easier ventures you could have taken on!


Christy:

I didn’t base the project on some abstract idea or something I read. It was purely personal.


Sterifab:

Could you explain that?


Christy:

Well. It all started when I was walking through the halls of my school, in between classes. I’d see students wearing torn or badly stained clothing. But I already knew that many of my fellow students were, or are, poor. In fact, almost half of the students in our school are on free or reduced lunches. It occurred to me that if these students couldn’t even afford food, then clothing was probably the last thing on their minds.


I did some research and I found out that at least 10% of our population were below the poverty line. And that doesn’t even account for the kids who are just above that line. They suffer too! We’re a very rural area, so every socioeconomic level is represented here.


Sterifab:

Do you really believe that what a fellow student wears is really that important?


Christy:

Yes. I do! I know for a fact that there have been lots of studies that show how clothing affects self-image, confidence, academic productivity, etc. They almost always show that nicer clothing can improve a student’s thinking and physical performance.


Sterifab:

Sounds interesting. But where does Sterifab feature in all of this? Why did you call us?


Christy:

I did a lot of research, and it turns out that if you donate clothes to charitable groups, there’s a good chance that those clothes may conceal bed bugs, fleas, and all sorts of really unpleasant creatures. We also found out that there is also a possibility that the folks who donated clothing were really unaware of these pest issues.


Sterifab:

And that’s why you called us?


Christy:

Yes. But you weren’t the first company we called. Sorry. We contacted a lot of companies in the pest management sector to see if they could support our efforts by contributing products we could use to get rid of pests on the donated clothes. Unfortunately, they all turned us down. Some of them said that my project just wasn’t “their thing," while others just flat out said “no”.


But then we called you, Sterifab, and we got a really great response.

You guys were very supportive and encouraging and shipped us several bottles of Sterifab, free, to help us get the ‘Clothing Pantry’ started. We are really grateful. This will make the project more likely to succeed.


Sterifab:

So, didn’t you explain to these other companies that you were working towards your Girl Scout Gold Award in Leadership?


Christy:

Yes. I did. I told them that it was an 80-hour service project that had a strong sustainability element to it. And that I have to document the whole project, from start to finish, with log sheets, schedules and timelines, as well as an account of all the research I do and a final appraisal at the end.


Sterifab:

Okay. So how do you plan to fund this effort?


Christy:

Well, I’m going to spend my hours cleaning out the space the school assigns me, organizing clothes, setting up an organizational/rationing system, making signs, sending out flyers/information, doing a clothing drive (maybe a coat drive in the fall), initially running several clothing pantry days, and teaching others how to take over the project.


Sterifab:

Obviously, you’re very ‘hands-on’ here. What sorts of things will you be doing?


Christy:

Well, I’m going to spend my hours cleaning out the space the school assigns me, organizing clothes, setting up an organizational/rationing system, making signs, sending out flyers/information, doing a clothing drive (maybe a coat drive in the fall), initially running several clothing pantry days, and teaching others how to take over the project.


Then I plan to build shelves and/or build rolling racks to store and display the clothes. I also would like to build an outdoor donation bin that people can drop off clothes in. And I’m looking to get a hold of some building supplies, such as plywood, 2x4’s, pipes/conduit, screws, wheels, hangers (for the clothes), hardware, paint, and office supplies (letters, flyers, etc.).


Sterifab:

So, how will this work?


Christy:

The “Clothing Pantry” is obviously locally focused, so we’ll be asking for clothing donations from the community at large, as well as clothing stores. But what’s really important is peer donation. We want to get every age group and grade involved in whatever way we can. Our launch day is coming up soon and I’m hoping that we can open the Pantry every other week.


We’re a very diverse community, economically, so it’s important that we involve as many people as possible. That’s why the Pantry is open to everyone. Anyone in the community can use it.


We’ll also be promoting the Pantry in as many ways as we can: via social media, school newsletters, and emails.


Sterifab:

Wow! That’s a lot of work. But what will you do when this is all over?


Christy:

Well, I want the project to be sustainable, so I’m going to hand it over to my school’s community service group: The Key Club. I’m sure they’ll do a great job. And to help them I’m going to create a booklet with instructions on how the organization works, how the rationing system operates, and the best layouts to use. In fact, I found a graphic at https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html to illustrate why the project is important.


The Graphic




Sterifab:

Well, that’s Christy’s project. And, needless to say, we’re proud to be a part of it and support her efforts as best we can.


Christy is obviously very bright, very articulate, very caring, and very committed. She’s a born leader, and I wish we had more like her.


What she’ll do in the future is anyone’s guess. She’s had thoughts about medical school, but is leaning strongly toward a career in the military. The Air Force Academy, in Colorado, is especially appealing to her, but she’s very wisely keeping her options open.


This would not be complete without a mention of the many people who have helped Christy in bringing her project to fruition. Throughout the project she has ̶ and will continue to ̶ consult with her mother, Jill, as well as her principal Mr. Seewer, and her Geometry teacher/leader of the Key Club, Mr. Ryan.


So, good luck Christy. I’m sure we’ll be hearing about you in the future!



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