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Wildcat Loft : More Than Just a Store

Jordyn Milton, Staff Writer

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At first, donated clothing was collected and stored in buckets located in every office; but today, students and their families can access what they need at the Wildcat Loft. From clothes, to toiletries, to school supplies, the Wildcat Loft has it. The Wildcat Loft was established four years ago after NFA administration, faculty, and staff learned how many necessities students and their families lack.

Shirley Kutia, the Diversity office’s administrative assistant, explained, “The need turned much bigger, so we went [away] from those buckets in the offices; we got a space, and it has changed. We have everything that you can think of in there now.”

The Loft offers jackets, shoes, socks, underwear, formal wear and even prom dresses; and shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, sunglasses, pens, pencils and backpacks have been added recently.  Excluding socks and underwear, the clothes are donated by faculty, staff, and alumni. The school supplies are donated by the United Way, a community organization whose aim is to “change our community by helping people in need through responsible use of donations.”  The bathroom necessities, socks and underwear are all bought once a month with money raised through school fundraisers such as the annual “Empty Bowls.”  In fact, all of the money raised at this year’s even was donated to the Wildcat Loft.

Although everything in the Loft is free, there is a five item limit.  Some students come in once for a shirt or even a pair of gym clothes, but some students shop more often for everyday things they might not be able to afford. The identities of the students are kept confidential so that they feel comfortable asking for what they need. 

“The Loft made over 750 transactions last year but, 400 of those transactions were repeated students, 350 were one time students,” commented Kutia.

At the end of March, over 850 transactions had already been made, with many more expected by the end of the year.The Wildcat Loft does not just help the students that shop there, it also benefits the student workers.

Eleventh grade loft worker, Makylia Williams, said “[The Wildcat Loft] helps me socially, physically, and emotionally,”

 

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