We started with one purple coat.


History of Clothes To Kids, Inc.

Jode Frisbie Eye and Marie Bouchard McClung, childhood friends and graduates of Clearwater High School in Clearwater, Florida, created Clothes To Kids, Inc. out of a passion for helping children in need. After many planning sessions at Jode’s kitchen table, the co-founders incorporated and starting collecting clothing in 2002. Their idea was to provide a cheerful store environment where families and children could actually shop with dignity and respect and receive school clothing free of charge.

On June 11, 2003, the first Clothes To Kids store opened in Dunedin, providing 1,200 square feet of shopping space.  They outgrew the space quickly and moved to the current Clearwater location in 2005.   Through generous donations from individuals and businesses in the community Jode and Marie saw their vision of the department store look and feel become a reality.

Marie & Jode in front of clothes.jpg

In December 2009 a second Clothes To Kids Store opened in St. Petersburg. This made clothing more accessible to families in South County. This summer (2018), another Clothes To Kids, Inc. Store will open across the bay in Tampa – serving kids in Hillsborough County.

Jode and Marie had a vision to provide school children with new and quality used clothing in a fun shopping environment and they wanted all of the clothing to be free of charge. This was way more than just a good idea. To date, Clothes To Kids, Inc. has distributed more than 129,000 wardrobes to kids in our community.

 

KIDS IN YOUR COMMUNITY NEED CLOTHING TOO

There are other dedicated people around the country who have opened Clothes To Kids Stores for kids in their community*, including Clothes To Kids of Denver, Clothes To Kids of Haywood County, NC, Clothes To Kids Rhode Island and Clothes To Kids of Fairfield County, CT. If you are interested in finding out more about our mission, and how to open a store, Jode would like to talk with you. 

*Clothes To Kids, Inc. is the founding organization. Clothes To Kids stores around the country operate under their own 501(c)(3), fund their own operating expenses and are governed by their own Board of Directors. The Clothes To Kids, Inc. Affiliate Coordinator can help you get started.

 The Story of the Purple Coat  Marie McClung, a co-founder of Clothes To Kids, Inc. volunteered in her sister Terry’s classroom on a weekly basis back in the early 2000’s. Marie was familiar with all of the children in the classroom and was always ready to jump in and help with anything her sister needed for her students.  On a rare, cold Florida morning, Marie’s sister called her and said she had a little girl in her classroom who would not be able to go outside for gym class without a jacket. She asked Marie if she would hurry to the store and buy a coat.  Marie jumped in the car, ran into a local store and bought a purple coat in just the right size. When she dropped off the coat she was touched by the deep gratitude of this little girl, who looked up at Marie with her smiling big brown eyes and offered a huge hug! (Terry said she had a hard time getting the coat OFF of her little student.  This story stuck with both Marie and Terry. When Marie and Jode Eye, co-founder of Clothes To Kids Inc. sat at Jode’s kitchen table in the spring of 2002, Marie told Jode about this little girl and the purple coat. “I felt like she was telling me the story of many of my students,” Jode said.   They decided they had to do something! They had to do something about children who didn’t have the clothing they needed. The purple coat became a symbol to them and was the inspiration and motivation they needed to get this mission started.

The Story of the Purple Coat

Marie McClung, a co-founder of Clothes To Kids, Inc. volunteered in her sister Terry’s classroom on a weekly basis back in the early 2000’s. Marie was familiar with all of the children in the classroom and was always ready to jump in and help with anything her sister needed for her students.

On a rare, cold Florida morning, Marie’s sister called her and said she had a little girl in her classroom who would not be able to go outside for gym class without a jacket. She asked Marie if she would hurry to the store and buy a coat.

Marie jumped in the car, ran into a local store and bought a purple coat in just the right size. When she dropped off the coat she was touched by the deep gratitude of this little girl, who looked up at Marie with her smiling big brown eyes and offered a huge hug! (Terry said she had a hard time getting the coat OFF of her little student.

This story stuck with both Marie and Terry. When Marie and Jode Eye, co-founder of Clothes To Kids Inc. sat at Jode’s kitchen table in the spring of 2002, Marie told Jode about this little girl and the purple coat. “I felt like she was telling me the story of many of my students,” Jode said. 

They decided they had to do something! They had to do something about children who didn’t have the clothing they needed. The purple coat became a symbol to them and was the inspiration and motivation they needed to get this mission started.