Seymour’s Closet looks forward to reopening after crisis

PINE PLAINS — From infants and toddlers to teens and adults living in the Pine Plains Central School District, Seymour’s Closet accepts donations of new and gently-used clothing of all sizes and seasons for the community, though it has currently put its efforts on pause, along with the rest of the state, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Seymour Smith Intermediate Learning Center Principal Julie Roberts said that the closet was initiated in 2014 to fill a basic clothing need among the Pine Plains student body. From the start, it provided clothing for students who, for instance, might not have appropriate outerwear for recess or who have shoes with holes in them. Before long, it began accepting clothing donations from the community. 

Seymour’s Closet is located in one of the intermediate school’s classrooms, Roberts said, so the clothing can be easily accessed by members of the school community. Open to the public several times a week during evening hours when the district is open, Roberts said families can shop around, though they are encouraged to take only what they need so that as many families as possible can make use of it.

When Seymour Smith opened its doors to second-grade students in 2016, more families had access to Seymour’s Closet. With the clothing supply dwindling, the school decided to close the closet and donate the remaining clothing elsewhere.

Since the need for more clothing has resurfaced in recent months, Roberts said the school decided to reopen Seymour’s Closet during the holidays. It’s currently closed.

Once schools reopen, Seymour Smith will again accept new and gently-used clothing as well as donations of outerwear and other clothing accessories, such as hats, gloves, belts and shoes. A collection bin sits in the main lobby of Seymour Smith for people to drop off donations when society returns to normal. When back in class, students may also give donations to their homeroom teachers or drop them off at the main office.

Advertising the clothing donations on the Seymour Smith Facebook page, Roberts said she would go through the clothing and assemble outfits then photograph and post it on Facebook for people to view and (hopefully) claim.

Since the school only reopened Seymour’s Closet during this past winter, Roberts said it hasn’t yet accumulated a broad inventory of clothing. Once there is a sufficient variety of clothing sizes and seasons, and school resumes, she said the district will open Seymour’s Closet.

“I want to make sure we fill the needs of the community,” Roberts said, adding that this initiative also helps the school community stay green by reusing clothing. “I think clothing is one of the most wasted resources we have, so hopefully this is a way to be greener as well so that clothing gets reused. We’re hoping to pass it along to someone who will enjoy it.”

As of Monday, March 16, the Pine Plains Central School District closed its doors per the governor’s orders in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus. To avoid potential exposure to COVID-19, Roberts said Seymour’s Closet is not accepting clothing donations at this time. However, once school resumes, she anticipates that the district will be able to once again accept donations and move forward with opening Seymour’s Closet to the public. 

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