Thanks to community donations as well as a donation from North Country Dairy in North Lawrence, a Care Closet at Norwood-Norfolk Central School has been stocked with hundreds of free hygiene products that are available to all students in grades pre-kindergarten through 12. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

NORFOLK — Thanks to community donations as well as a donation from North Country Dairy in North Lawrence, a Care Closet at Norwood-Norfolk Central School has been stocked with hundreds of free hygiene products that are available to all students in grades pre-kindergarten through 12.

Superintendent James Cruikshank said it’s actually an offshoot of a Care Closet the district has had containing winter jackets, mittens and other items.

“Our high school and middle school counselors did expand it a bit. They have gotten a few small grants and a couple of large donations to put more items on the shelf, so to speak,” Mr. Cruikshank said. “So, normally they would have a little thing of deodorant or feminine products, but through the grants and through the support of some wonderful people, it’s a pretty stocked closet and kids, whatever they need, can go and get support.”

Among the items on the shelf are shampoo, conditioner, body wash, bar soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, deodorant, loofahs, hair brushes, hair ties, hand soap, laundry detergent, dish soap, toilet paper, perfume, tampons, pads, underwear, socks, body lotion and more.

“We have quite a few hygiene items. That’s what we have in the guidance office,” Mr. Cruikshank said.

The district also has areas with clothing available, “not just winter apparel and jackets, which is kind of where it started, but with gently used clothing,” he added.

“The kids can come and get somewhat new clothes,” he said. “We recognize that many of the families are dealing with hardships and we’re trying to organize efforts to help support them.”

An area behind the elementary stage holds some of the items, while others can be found in a small former office on the third floor.

School counselors Jordan Helmer, Janet Arcadi and Carrie French, as well as social worker Danielle Plumadore are ready to assist students with their needs. Students can also contact their teacher to coordinate getting items from the Care Closet.

“It’s very confidential,” Mr. Cruikshank said. “They can go to any trusted adult. There are many people that help support these initiatives.”

He said the need is there.

“When we started the clothing initiative a number of years ago, we weren’t sure how much it would be used, and we were surprised by the number of students requesting to go to get support,” he said. “I would encourage any family that’s struggling right now to reach out to our counselors. If we don’t have it here, we might be able to find resources to help, and that’s really what it’s about — is helping families and helping kids.”

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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