Press Release

Reconnecting McDowell Provides ‘Care Closets’ for Every McDowell County School

For Release:


Janet Bass

WELCH, W.Va.— Every McDowell County public school will have a “Care Closet” filled with coats and other articles of clothing, blankets, hygiene products, notebooks and additional items, thanks to Reconnecting McDowell’s latest program to help children and their families overcome the consequences of poverty.

The American Federation of Teachers, the convener of the public-private Reconnecting McDowell partnership, unveiled one of the Essentials for Kids Care Closets at Mount View High School during a town hall meeting Monday evening. These are the first Care Closets the AFT has sponsored in West Virginia.

“These closets are stocked with a variety of clothing, personal-care items and school supplies. We want families to know that kids shouldn’t have to go without a warm coat or blanket during the winter months or hygiene products because they can’t afford them,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten. “Reconnecting McDowell’s goal is to make sure kids have the resources to thrive in school.”

The AFT sponsored a Care Closet at a cost of about $11,000 for each of the 10 county schools. All of the closet items were purchased on the First Book Marketplace at a 50 to 90 percent discount off the retail rate.

The items in each Care Closet should last for about six months. To help replenish the closets, donations in any amount can be made at

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.