GLASGOW — There’s a new area at Barren County High School for students and their families to pick up clothes, school supplies and other items for free.
“We converted one of our classrooms into a free store,” BCHS Principal Brad Johnson said, adding that it’s not taking place of the Trojan Store, which is in the gym. “We had some space freed up with the people that moved into the new building.”
The Trojan Quick Stop, as it is called, is an effort between Johnson and the BCHS Family Resource and Youth Service Center, said Shelly Young, FRYSC coordinator. She said the purpose of this free store is to provide students and families with a stigma-free area where they can obtain needed items.
“I think what I’m most excited about is the amount of space here,” Young said. “So we can service more of our families — just have the items readily available.”
Johnson said the store is stocked with “good stuff.”
“A lot of it is donated, but it’s not dirty, worn out stuff,” he said. “We have dress shirts. We have some suits and we have some brand new pants that have never been worn.
“We want kids to feel free to stop by here. It’s all about trying to help people. The community has been great. We get calls every day with people wanting to donate stuff and bring stuff, so it lets us keep it free.”
Ashley Moore, FRYSC assistant coordinator, said the school has many families that don’t have the ability to purchase a lot of clothing for their kids.
“Sometimes we all fall on hard times,” she said. “And with this, families are encouraged to come up here, and everything in our store is free, from school supplies to hygiene products, all the way down to clothing.
“When they come in here, there’s no judgement on them. We all need help some time or another. So when they come in here, they can pick through this and know that they’re going to have clothes — and these are nice clothes. These aren’t anything that has stains or holes. We look through everything that’s donated and if we wouldn’t wear it, we try not to put it out.”
Moore said when anyone comes into the free store, “we want them to feel comfortable.”
“We’re here to support them,” she said. “I like when someone comes in here, their main question is, ‘How much is everything?’ And when I say, ‘free,’ their eyes light up because they realize, ‘Wait, I don’t have to pay for stuff like this? And my kids can have nice stuff?’ And it won’t be like, ‘How am I going to scrape up some money to buy this?’”
Young said they also have a lounge area set up, equipped with a coffee bar and nutritious snacks with the help of Barren County Schools’ Nutrition Services.
“That’ll be a cool place for kids just to hang out,” she said. “Staff members, too.”
Young said having this free store creates a level playing field for the students since it gives everyone an equal opportunity to have nice things so they don’t feel excluded.
“All of our kids want to feel like they have all the things they need to be successful,” she said. “We definitely do not want clothing and shoes to be a stumbling block to their success in education, and I feel like we’re providing them with some of those things and maybe helping them achieve that.”
Moore said community members who want to donate items to the store can call her at 270-651-6587.
“And we can come pick it up,” she sad. “They can also just bring it to the front door.”