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'Campus Closet' at Chasco Middle School gets serious style points for dressing kids in need

Chasco Middle School campus closet
Posted at 4:22 AM, Feb 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-05 07:29:10-05

PORT RICHEY, Fla. — Cpl. Annamarie Hernandez is the school resource officer at Chasco Middle School in Port Richey.

She knows her students well. And she knows when some of them could use a visit to the Campus Closet.

“Repetitive clothing, taping up shoes, taking or stealing food,” Cpl. Hernandez says. “They can come in here and shop, get whatever they need.”

From Ralph Lauren T-shirts to shelves and shelves of food, the new Campus Closet at Chasco Middle looks sort of like a college store. It is bright, fun and inviting.

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The clothing comes from Target. Much of the food was donated from the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.

Cpl. Hernandez and school parent liaison Belsy Soto are the two main angels behind the Campus Closet, where students in need can also get toiletries for home and some pretty cool shoes.

Everything is free here, and students can shop in privacy.

Around eighty-five percent of students at Chasco Middle live near or below the poverty level.

So the Campus Closet is a key addition here.

“It really looks like they’re shopping in a store,” says Chasco Middle School Principal Brandon Dahlin-Bracciale. “It makes them feel normal safe and secure.”

The Campus Closet accepts donations of all kinds, but right now they’re particularly interested in girls’ dresses for this spring’s 8th-grade dance.

For more information, contact Chasco Middle School.