Emma Loebel and Rebecca Ward, friends and juniors at Mamaroneck High School (MHS), have long been involved in community service (since they both were in sixth grade). When the Larchmont-Mamaroneck community went through a period of recession in 2008, the pair decided to combine their love of fashion and clothing with their concern for their neighbors.
This led to the creation of the Clothes Closet, now an official club at MHS. On Saturday, the Clothes Closet held its third event to give donated, gently used clothing to clients of the Mamaroneck . The event, held at , attracted dozens of clients, many of whom lined up before the doors opened for a chance at the best merchandise.
Debbie Ward and Caryn Loebel, proud mothers of Rebecca Ward and Emma Loebel, said that clients had told them the Clothes Closet is a great event that they come to each year; one woman even said she is still wearing a coat she got at the first event. Caryn Loebel said she is proud that the closet has also become the "go-to" service club for clothing-related issues.
The club gets the word out by posting flyers around town soliciting donations of gently used clothing. Emma Loebel and Rebecca Ward said that this time of year is ideal for collecting clothes because people are in the midst of spring cleaning and realize they have high-quality things that they no longer want or need.
This year's event offered over 13,000 pieces of clothing, much of it of very high quality and even freshly dry cleaned.
Rebecca Ward and Emma Loebel said that over 30 students are now a member of the club. MHS freshmen Leigh Bodkin, Jessica Hill, and Grace Jarrett were also volunteering at Saturday's event, along with seniors Alec Reinlib and Bryce Loebel, Emma's brother.
Rebecca Ward and Emma Loebel recently received both a Presidential Service and Volunteer Awards from the Teens for Community organization, but they're not in it for the accolades, their mothers said. They really just want to help their neighbors as well as witness the fruits of their labor, said Caryn Loebel, rather than just dumping clothes in a collection box.
Guisela Marroquin, director of the , said the event is valuable for the volunteers as well as her clients. The event is, "meeting a need in our community," she said, "and since we are helping a neighbor, it's very accessible to people. People certainly look forward to it."