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Catie’s Closet a big hit at Sunset Heights

Staff photo by Hannah LaClaire Mary Beth Thompson runs Catie’s Closet at Sunset Heights Elementary School.

Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in an eight-part series about Catie’s Closet locations throughout the Nashua

School District.

Sunset Heights Elementary School has only hosted its version of Catie’s Closet for five months, but already, point person Mary Beth Thompson said the closet’s offerings have helped dozens of students from their own school, as well as several more children from other schools.

Thompson said that she will sometimes receive a call from a school without a closet, asking if she can supply a few shirts or a pair of pants for a student. Just because a school does not have at least 40 percent of students in need, does not mean that the need does not exist.

Like Fairgrounds Elementary, Sunset Heights also uses the closet to help build relationships with the parents. If the adults need clothes, they will make sure they have access to them as well.

“The need is just getting greater each year,” she said. “It’s hard. (Parents’) first priorities need to be rent, bills and food.”

Thompson said Sunset Heights had a number of new arrivals this year – with a lot of families from Puerto Rico and a few homeless families – and they do their best to help where they can.

“Our school is like family. We think of them as our kids,” she said. “It sounds cliche, but you want them to want to come to school. If you feel better, you’re ready to learn.”

Sunset Heights staff had been wanting to open a closet at the school for a while, but it wasn’t possible until renovations were completed last spring.

Now that they have one, Thompson said, “it’s been wonderful. Just wonderful.”

Hannah LaClaire can be reached at 594-1243 or hlaclaire@nashuatelegraph.com.