Ste. Anne Elementary is holding a clothing swap this spring.
A clothing swap is when people exchange their no longer used clothing for clothing they will wear.
Connie Ruggles, a teacher at Ste. Anne Elementary, had the idea to implement clothing swaps at the school. They had their first swap in the fall of 2022.
Ruggles says she thought of the idea when talking with her friend from a school in Saint Norbert.
“They've done it in the past and it was very successful, so I was like ‘we'll give it a try.’ And it was overwhelmingly successful,” she says. “I was worried people wouldn't bring clothes, but we had so many. And then I was worried people weren't going to come and pick clothes, and there was lots of families that came and we barely had anything left over. I think we had two little boxes of things left over in the end.”
Ruggles says clothing swaps are a big benefit for those in the community.
“A lot of families don't have the money to buy brand new,” she says. “Also, sometimes people don't always take the time to take it to a thrift store, so it’s not getting thrown out in the landfill.”
She says the swap is school wide, so there are students from kindergarten all the way up to grade 8 that are participating.
During the day, the kids could go with the teachers to pick out clothes, and in the evening, parents could come with their kids or by themselves to pick up things.
Ruggles says parents had a great reaction to the clothing swap.
“A lot of parents came in and were like, ‘this is so nice that I can get rid of all of this.’ So just that relief of like, 'I'm getting rid of it and it's going to go to good use,'" she says. "And a lot of parents were just so happy to be able to pick clothes for free, no strings attached. Just take what you want or need.”
They had some students who helped sort out the donated items.
“And they were excited! They were like ‘this used to be mine. I brought this’ and just showing it to the other kids."
Ruggles says the day after the kids got their new clothes, they were already eagerly wearing them to school.
"They're like ‘I got this for free at the school!’ It was just cute to see how excited they were for free clothes.”
The clothing swap benefits a lot of families, especially since kids grow out of clothes so quickly. It’s also a great way to teach kids to donate their unused clothing.
“I think it's important that people feel excited about getting used clothes, I love buying stuff at thrift shops and I think it's great.”
Ste. Anne Elementary will be taking donations for the clothing swap all week long.
Then on the 23rd and 24th, they will have everything set up for parents and students to come take clothing.
This time around, they are also taking gently used toys and books.
“I know for myself having a five-year-old, they grow out of their toys and developmental books quickly, so I'm hoping that there's a good response to that as well.”