Prom is an exciting time for most students, but for students who do not have access to dresses and suits, it is a stressful time. The new Baldwin Pop-Up Shop hopes to help with that.
Student Engagement Coordinator Dr. Kara Eckert has seen a need in the community.
“The Pop-Up Shop is open to anyone in our community in need of personal care items or searching for men’s or women’s professional clothing or prom attire.”
Social studies teacher Natalie Grattan, who has been involved with similar efforts for several years, said this program will help students who need formal wear for events like prom.
“The Pop Up Shop’s purpose is to allow students who previously have been excluded due to attire or hygiene needs to be a part of events,” Grattan said.
The first Pop-Up Shop event will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the SHIM South Hills Family Center, also known as the Wallace building. The shop will always offer personal care items, but will have different “themed” items each time, with this first event focusing on prom and professional wear.
There have been other projects that offered students an opportunity to shop clothing for free, but the Pop-Up Shop is different because it will be mobile. Pop-Up events will be set up throughout the community.
“We know that needs exist on various levels, and this is one way that as a district we can support our students, families and community members by providing donated items free of charge,” Eckert said.
The idea was created after looking for ways to give back and support the community and students.
“Our planning team took a few other successful ideas that have happened in the district and combined them into one concept and the Pop-Up Shop was born,” Eckert said.
The Fab Lab will be used to transport the items to the Pop-Up locations.
It will be “a creative way to take our shop out into the community,” Eckert said.
Adult volunteers work the shop but students can assist in setting up and cleaning up through the National Honor Society or by contacting Grattan.
“I’m hopeful that we can create a free student store that can have all the necessities and the appropriate seasonal attire,” Grattan said.
Library media specialist Bridgetta Del Re is on the Pop-Up Shop’s committee.
“There might be costumes for Halloween, and around Christmas time and the holidays there may be food involved at some point,” Del Re said. “This is the first test run, so we don’t know what it will look like down the road.”
Zion Lutheran Church donated health and beauty items and the Community Clothing Exchange donated items as well. Baldwin staff members have donated clothing and necessities.
Eckert received a grant to help with hiring drivers for the Fab Lab and purchasing equipment such as crates, bins, and clothing racks.
“I’m curious to see how this will unfold,” Del Re said. “I hope it does catch on and members of the community realize that we have a presence within the community to fulfill needs.”