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Louisiana teenager opens donation closet to make sure everyone at his school has nice things to wear


Classy move

Image source; WAFB screenshot

According to WAFB-TV, a 13-year-old Louisiana eighth grader is doing what he can to make sure his less fortunate classmates have nice clothes and supplies to use at school.

Chase Neyland-Square started the nonprofit PAM's Pantry — which operates out of a closet behind a stage in the school's gym — at Port Allen Middle School in Port Allen, Louisiana, as a way to help his fellow classmates. Port Allen is directly across the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge.

"I know that everybody doesn't have things and I'm fortunate to have things that other people don't have," Chase told WAFB, "and I look at it as sometimes, how would I feel in that situation?"

The closet is filled with two large racks of donated clothes that are free for any student who needs them. It also features school bags and other supplies.

PAM's Pantry is one of the results of a program called SPARK — which stands for Student Program for Arts, Recreation and Knowledge — that was started by Port Allen Principal Jessica Major in 2016. The program is designed to encourage student leadership and community participation, and PAM's Pantry is one of the ways it has shown a measurable result.

The SPARK program also features regular scheduled interactions between students and school administrators in non-disciplinary settings, which has helped foster a bond between students and administrators, and encouraged student involvement in leadership.

Chase told WAFB that many students have taken advantage of the closet, and that on one occasion, an entire family was able to get a "whole new closet full of clothes" after all their belongings were destroyed in a fire.

Chase plans to continue working on PAM's Pantry and expanding it even after he leaves Port Allen Middle School, and that he hopes to one day turn it into a nonprofit that serves his whole community.

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