Winona State students donate food, clothing to community

Winona State students donate food, clothing to community

Morghan Lemmenes, Features Editor

Winona State University students are collecting and donating clothes to community members in need through the organization Dream Closet.

Dream Closet started at Mankato State University by student Kylie Feltes.

Feltes said she wanted to donate her clothes, so she created a free shopping event called Dream Closet to help people who do not have many resources to buy clothes.

In spring 2016, senior Anacorina Velasco brought Dream Closet to Winona State to help those in Winona and surrounding areas. Gabriella Ingebrand, a senior advertising major, is running Dream Closet this semester.

“We want to provide clothing to as many people as possible who need it,” Ingebrand said.

Ingebrand said Dream Closet tries to add something new to the donation list. Recently, Dream Closet added toiletry items to the donation list, including toothbrushes, toothpaste and shampoo.

Each semester, volunteers are assigned to each donation box, both on and off-campus, to check weekly and bring donations to the on-campus storage space.

The white donation boxes are set up around different areas of campus, including the Student Activity Center in Kryzsko Commons, Phelps Hall and Krueger Library, as well locations off campus, including Wal-Mart and Hy-Vee.

Chloe Healy, a junior human resources major, is preparing to take over Dream Closet in the spring.

“We will have weekly meetings to organize everything,” Healy said. “We will go in and separate [donations] by men’s and women’s. Then youth, junior and adults before separating by size and pant, shorts, long sleeve and sweaters.”

All the donations collected are given away at Dream Closet’s free shopping event, which will take place on Nov. 19 in the Business Engagement Center in Somsen Hall and is open to the public.

The event is primarily run by volunteers, who man the dressing rooms and greet people as they step into the Engagement Center, as well as help people look for sizes and pull out options for them.

“We wouldn’t be possible without the community as well. Places like Wal-Mart and Hy-Vee have donated in the past and without those donations we wouldn’t be here. Student Senate also provides us the money to do certain things,” Ingebrand said. “It just a takes a big group of people to make it happen.”

Dream Closet provides a table at the event with food that shoppers can have while shopping or take home with them, including water bottles, juice boxes and fresh fruit donated from different grocery stores in the Winona area.

“Something that has really stuck with me was when a mom asked me if she could have a clementine for her kids and she had four kids,” Ingebrand said. “I told her she could take as many as she wanted. She then told me that her kids had never had these because she couldn’t afford them. I literally went to the back and grabbed a whole bag for her and her kids. What we do does have an impact on people.”

Though Dream Closet collects donations for low-income community members, Ingebrand said the organization encourages anyone to come to the event.

“We do not turn anyone away. If you could benefit from it, please come,” Ingebrand said.

Healy said Dream Closet tries to reach out to as many people as possible.

“We really want to touch more lives and help out as many people as we can,” Healy said. “Anyone can really benefit from it and we want to help out as many people as we can.”