IRVING (CBSDFW.COM) – An Irving mom is paying it forward, helping provide public school uniforms for families who can’t afford them for their children.
Shawana Carter started her nonprofit, Carter’s House, less than two years ago. What’s grown from an effort to help a handful of families will now benefit several hundred.
“I do this because I have, at one point, not been able to clothe my own children. Now, I’m in a place where we don’t have that problem. We want to make sure we’re able to give back,” Carter said.
Years ago, Carter, her husband and three children were living in a motel, in transition. She remembers not being able to afford buying a school uniform for her child. She said Project PASS, part of the Irving Women’s Network, helped the family then.
“A lot of children who are going to school are bullied, picked on because they don’t look like everybody else. Children feel insecure because their clothes may not be clean, or may be torn or tattered,” Carter said.
Carter’s House only asks clients one question: do the children qualify for free or reduced lunch. “I give out clothes all year, but this past summer I had a family come through and they needed summer clothes, shorts and T-shirts. We went and found some for a boy and a girl. The mother was so appreciative,” said Carter.
About seven months ago, Carter met Kimberly O’Neil, who runs a startup nonprofit incubator called Cause Studio. O’Neil is counseling Carter, helping her to build a healthy, scalable nonprofit to serve the community. “To really go into the hearts of the community and serve people who don’t have a voice,” O’Neil said.
They have collected clothing for children ages infant through 18. Everything from public school uniform pieces to socks and underwear.
This Saturday, about 300 pre-qualified children in need will benefit, at an event called Giving Boutique.
With hundreds of donations gathered so far, Carter will take in more — if not for this weekend, but to help families in the future. “For our family, it was a big deal. A few uniforms got us started and helped us make it through a year,” Carter said.