Local mom seeks help from community to provide back-to-school outfits for kids
IDAHO FALLS — A local mom is on a mission to provide children with back-to-school outfits so they can have a “fresh start” to a new school year.
Marissa Williams is a mother of five who lives in Idaho Falls. She launched Project Fresh New Feeling three years ago with the goal to provide kids with back-to-school outfits. The idea came after she took her kids shopping for school outfits and realized not all children get the opportunity to do that.
“I know that kids don’t need new clothes,” Williams said. “But a good, brand new outfit helps them start out on the best foot possible. I think it helps to give them a good boost of confidence.”
Every child and teen from the age of four to 17 who is nominated will receive two brand new outfits, socks and underwear. Shoes have been added this year as an optional item that can be gifted too.
“The biggest impact for me has been — and I’m sure it’s because I don’t talk to the kids — but the moms,” Williams mentioned. “They are so grateful.”
During the project’s first year, Williams raised $600 with help from community members, which was enough to buy 20 kids two outfits each. Last year, the project doubled the monetary donations and earned about $1,200. Plus, 23 sponsors helped provide clothing so that 65 children had outfits.
As of Tuesday, there were 65 nominations, and so far, $480 has been raised.
“I call it a nomination but I want to try to get clothes for everyone,” she said.
The project has influenced and touched the lives of many, not only those receiving clothes. Williams said her kids love to go shopping for other children and drop off the items to them. She’s even heard that some moms have their kids pick out clothes for children when they do their own back-to-school shopping.
Another parent thanked Williams for starting the project because when she was a kid, she didn’t have a new outfit to wear. She said she knows what it’s like to feel sad and out of place.
“I know you have changed the anxious feelings into excited feelings for at least four kids,” a parent who wishes to remain anonymous told Williams. “I cannot wait until there is a point in my life where I can do the same and pay it forward.”
People can participate in the project in three ways:
- Click here to nominate a local child in need, ages 4-17.
- Send monetary donations via Venmo that will help pay for students’ outfits by clicking here.
- To sponsor a child and view the details on the requirements of being a sponsor, click here.
“I really hope that it continues to snowball and grow, and we can help as many kids as possible and also give people that opportunity to serve and help,” Williams said.
The deadline to participate in the project is Aug. 18.
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