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'We want to give': Alcorn Central opens Clothes Closet

Crossroads Christmas founder Marea Wilson and Alcorn Central High School Principal Brandon Quinn stand inside the school's community Clothes Closet.

Staff photo by Zack Steen

By Zack Steen


Giving is more rewarding than receiving.

And not just at Christmastime.

Alcorn Central High School does it every day of the year.

Principal Brandon Quinn "" also known as Coach Quinn from his former basketball glory days "" is at the helm of a remarkable joint project between teachers, administrators and students.

In a large storage room tucked off the high school's teacher lounge, those in need of a warm coat and a better pair of shoes will find just that. The Clothes Closet, as they call it, is overflowing with slightly used clothing and accessories donated by school staff, students and the community.

"It's there for whoever needs something," said Quinn. "We not only welcome high school students, but also those needy kids from the middle and elementary school. Community members are also welcome."

Most every school has some sort of "emergency box" filled with a few donated shirts, pants and coats. They are there for the occasional accident or for those little ones who arrive at school on cool mornings without a jacket.

ACHS used to have a standard "emergency box", but four years ago Quinn decided to step up his game.

"We had students who were in need of more ... and our teachers always provided. It was from that ambition that the Clothes Closet was born," he said.

The school's student leadership team helps to organize the closet by size, type and even color, while it's been both the staff members and students who have spread the word of the offering.

School counselor Julie Pittman was also a big help with the initial setup of the special area that is open for business everyday school is open.

Quinn said the closet will also be open on Christmas Day when the school hosts the seventh annual Living Free Ministries Crossroads Christmas.

The free community dinner held in the cafeteria at Alcorn Central High School will serve hot, home-cooked traditional Christmas meals to everyone on Dec. 25 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Not an event just for the needy, Crossroads Christmas is about giving back to the community. The event includes a continuous showing of the holiday movie classic, "It's A Wonderful Life," Christmas stockings for the first 100 kids and arts and crafts for kids.

Quinn said those who need clothing will be escorted from the cafeteria to the Clothes Closet.

"The Alcorn Central Clothes Closet shows the heart of the administration," said Crossroads Christmas founder Marea Wilson. "What a wonderful way to show those kids and those in the community that they are loved and cared about."

These days the closet is filled mostly with teenage, young adult and adult-size clothing.

"We've got a little bit of everything "" jeans, dress pants, T-shirts, long sleeve shirts, sweaters, coats, jackets, shoes, socks, belts ... the list is endless, and it's all available to anyone in the community in need," added Quinn.

Even though Quinn said a recent donation push of younger kids' clothes has helped, more is needed.

"Baby, toddler and pre-teen clothes for boys and girls are still low," said the principal.

Those who have items to donate can drop the slightly used and cleaned pieces of clothing and accessories by the Glen campus during normal school hours. Quinn said his staff will be prepared to take donations during the Christmas Day event, as well.

With literally thousands of items currently in the Clothes Closet, Quinn said he never dreamed it would get this size.

"It's a wonderful thing, and we've had so much help to make it grow like this," he said. "This school is part of the community and I think its important to be there to help not only the students of the community, but also the parents.

"With Christmas coming up, it makes it all more special when you can help someone. Giving is a lot more rewarding than receiving, and so we want to give," added Quinn.