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Local mom’s project aimed to get every child a new outfit to start school

Local

IDAHO FALLS — A local mom who had the idea to provide children with back-to-school outfits is hoping to have another successful year of serving those in the community.

Marissa Williams, a mother of five who lives in Idaho Falls, launched Project Fresh New Feeling in 2019. The project — which is based on volunteers — is dedicated to giving children ages 4 to 17 two brand-new outfits, underwear, socks and shoes to start the new school year. Williams knows it’s not necessary to have new clothes for school, but she believes a new outfit gives children a boost of confidence.

Local mom asking for help from community to give kids back-to-school outfits

“As it grows bigger and bigger, I’m humbled by the fact this small idea became something so big,” Williams told EastIdahoNews.com. “It’s a big job but I enjoy it every year.”

Local mom seeks help from community to provide back-to-school outfits for kids

With help from the community, the project raised $600 and helped 20 kids during its first year. In 2020, about $1,200 was raised, 23 sponsors stepped in to help provide clothing and 65 kids received items. The numbers continued to increase last year when roughly $4,500 was collected, 33 sponsors participated and 140 kids got clothes.

“It would be awesome to double that 140 number (this year),” she explained. “I don’t know if that’s possible but I would love to do that.”

Williams said the project is not only open to students in eastern Idaho, but outside the state too. Children from New York to Oregon received clothes last year.

“Originally, my goal was to keep it to east Idaho but then I was like if we can go bigger, we’ll go bigger,” Williams said.

Project Fresh New Feeling logo
Project Fresh New Feeling logo. | Courtesy Marissa Williams

Spearheading the project has touched Williams as she’s realized how many people want to give to others but need an opportunity to do so.

She remembers an 89-year-old man who gave her a check last year to help with the project. He told her that when he was in school there was a boy in his class who wore the same outfit the entire year. He remembers wishing he could have given him a new outfit, and he wanted his check to be dedicated to that little boy.

“The fact that … he found the connection to this project from back when he was in school as an elementary school kid that many years ago, I was like this project means a lot to the people who are donating and the people who are receiving,” Williams said. “It turns out every year to be more than I expected and even better than I thought.”

People can participate in the project in four ways:

  • Click here to nominate a child in need, ages 4-17.
  • Send monetary donations via Venmo that will help pay for students’ outfits by clicking here. All proceeds go to the project.
  • To sponsor a child and view the details on the requirements of being a sponsor, click here.
  • To be a “shopper” and help buy items that will be gifted to students, contact Williams on the Facebook page.

The deadline to submit nominations is Aug. 3 and sponsor shopping must be completed by Aug. 10.

Our attorneys tell us we need to put this disclaimer in stories involving fundraisers: EastIdahoNews.com does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries.

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