Alfonsina Corona, a fifth-grader at Rundle Elementary School, says she has a deeply rooted love for her school.
Her admiration grew on Jan. 31, she said, as she stood among a group of about 30 students at Rundle who awaited the unveiling of a student closet stocked with snacks, clothes, shoes and school supplies. The closet is just down the hall from the school’s front office.
“I was really excited when I heard about it,” said Alfonsina, 11. “It can give people who don’t have food or good jackets when it’s cold a place to come and get what they need.”
The closet was supplied by Zappos for Good, the charitable arm of online shoe and clothing retailer and downtown Las Vegas fixture Zappos.
Students may use the closet to get supplies whenever they need them, according to principal Lenette Reece.
“It allows the students to focus on their education and not worry about the fact that their basic needs need to be met,” Reece said.
Clothes and shoes line the back of the closet, while nonperishable items such as canned beans, macaroni and cheese and sweet corn line the left side. Notebooks, pencils, glue and folders sit on shelves on the closet’s right side.
“The idea was to build a closet that helps teachers and other school officials deliver student needs in a way that is both respectful to students and catered to their education in the classroom,” said Steven Bautista, head of philanthropy for Zappos for Good, based in Las Vegas.
Home improvement store Closets Las Vegas built the framework, Bautista said, and the Public Education Foundation, a nonprofit that provides resources for public education, brought in school supplies.
“We’re going to be working with Three Square to help bring in the food,” Bautista said. “We’re doing it in a ratio that matches what the school needs. So if the school needs more school supplies, we’re going to go heavier on that and less on something else. It’s tailored to what the school needs.”
The organization is focusing on Title I schools whose students predominantly qualify for free and reduced-price lunch, Bautista said. This is the first of 13 such closets that the company plans to establish at local schools. The other schools haven’t been determined.
Students interested in getting supplies from the closet can approach Reece or assistant principal Stacey Sly.
“This is going to have a huge impact on the students,” Reece said. “Because these are essentials.”