Continuing a six year mission to help El Campo students in need, one local woman aims to provide families with dress-code-appropriate clothing for the upcoming school year.
Jennifer Peña of El Campo is currently accepting donations for her annual polo shirt drive. She began the drive in 2014, and has hosted it annually before the start of each school year.
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, more families may need help this year than previous years, Peña said.
“I would think there would be a greater need with the families not working,” she added.
The dress code for El Campo ISD currently requires students to wear collared shirts with polos being one of the options. The requirement is what sparked Peña to seek donations for this specific item of clothing.
“I have five kids myself, so I know the struggle I go through to get school clothes,” she said. “God laid (this mission) on my heart a few years ago.”
The ECISD school board discussed changing the dress code this year, specifically regarding shirts, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Please see related story for more information.)
Although she has helped students in pre-K through high school, Peña typically receives donations in smaller sizes or for younger students. This year, she’d like to have more sizes available for teenagers.
“A lot of times I can’t help the high school kids because not a lot of people donate the bigger sizes,” she said.
Donations are currently being accepted for the polo drive in the form of cash and new or gently used shirts. Used shirts need to be washed before being donated.
Peña hasn’t received calls from families needing polos yet, likely due to the fact that she wasn’t able to get the word out to ECISD students before the COVID-19 pandemic closed schools in March. Last year, she helped about 30 families with the polo drive.
The donated polos will be provided to families on a first come, first serve basis. In order to secure a polo, call or text Peña at 979-616-7102 in advance and provide your name, your child’s name, their grade and their t-shirt size.
Peña will hand out the polos to families at the Aug. 8 Back To School Bash, which will be held drive-through style due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Organizers of local non-profit Movement of Faith will also be handing out school supplies and backpacks to students in need at the event.
The drive-through school supply and polo pickup will take place 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Aug. 8 at Willie Bell Park, 720 W. Second.
Polo shirt donations can be dropped off at 3 in 1 Fitness, 602 Fahrenthold.