Local mom asking for help from community to give kids back-to-school outfits

Some of the outfits that were given to kids last year for the first day of school. | Courtesy Marissa Williams

IDAHO FALLS — With school quickly approaching, one local mom is pouring her time and effort into making sure local kids are dressed for success come the first day of school.

Last year, an Idaho Falls mother of five, Marissa Williams, launched Project Fresh New Feeling. The focus of the group is on giving kids who need a back-to-school outfit new clothes so they can have that “fresh new feeling” on the first day of a new school year.

“Last year, I was getting my kids’ back-to-school clothes ready, and they were all super excited to go to the store and pick them out and have a brand new outfit to wear for a fresh start,” Williams said. “It popped into my mind that some kids don’t get that opportunity, and some parents wish they could give their kids that opportunity, but aren’t able to.”

After that realization, Williams set aside $100 so she could buy new outfits for children who weren’t her own. She made a post in an Idaho Falls Facebook group telling parents to message her if they needed help buying an outfit for their child’s first day of school.

It didn’t take long before she had a list of 20 kids who needed an outfit.

“I was like, ‘My $100 is not going to go very far,” she said, laughing. “I reached out to my personal friends and neighbors, and they ended up helping me bring the total to $600, which was enough to buy each of those 20 kids two new school outfits, including socks and underwear so they were feeling fresh and clean the first day of school.”

Project Fresh New Feeling. | Courtesy Marissa Williams

Williams had no idea there was such a need in the community, but after last year’s success, she decided to continue the project for a second year.

She knows it’s not a necessity to have a new outfit on the first day of school, but she believes it helps kids feel confident.

“I never really interacted with any of the kids, but all of the moms were so grateful because they wanted their kids to feel included on the first day of school in their new clothes,” Williams said of last year’s project.

People can participate in the project in three ways:

  • Click here to nominate a local child in need ages 4-17.
  • Send monetary donations via Venmo that will help pay for students’ outfits by clicking here.
  • To sponsor a child and view the details on the requirements of being a sponsor, click here.

Williams said almost 10 kids have already been nominated, and around $200 has been donated.

“This year especially, we’re all going through a hard year, but the school year, no matter how it looks, can be a fresh start for all of us,” Williams said. “Whether you’re sending your kids to school or homeschooling (no matter) what your plan is for your family, everybody needs a little bit of a reset, and for my family, that’s what back to school is. It’s a fresh new start. I want every kid to feel confident going into it.”

The deadline to participate in the project is Aug. 21.

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