Arizona Heart and Sol: Southern Arizona nonprofit provides free clothing to foster children

KOLD News 6-6:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Mar. 10, 2022 at 10:17 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Every week, KOLD News 13 partners with Casino Del Sol to highlight a person or organization that is going above and beyond in the community.

This week, KOLD highlighted Michele Wright, the executive director and co-founder of Spreading Threads Clothing Bank.

The local, grassroots nonprofit is dedicated to providing free clothing to kids and teens in foster care.

Wright said she realized there was a need when she began fostering children about 13 years ago.

“I got a placement from DCS that was two days old, and I didn’t have a lot of warning,” Wright said.

Wright said while foster parents do receive money, it can be tight, so donations really help.

“I was stunned how children are placed in these totally impossible difficult situations that we as adults would have trouble navigating and dealing with. And it just became my passion to remove any burden or any obstacle that is in their way that I could because they have so much on their plate,” Wright said.

Wright said she has now adopted four children from foster care, and started Spreading Threads Clothing Bank to continue to help other families.

“Our mission here to reestablish some dignity for these kids to make them feel good about what they are doing,” Wright said.

Wright said they provide clothing to about 250 to 300 children a month.

“Kids can come here and get as much as they want for free,” Wright said.

She said when schools re-opened after going remote, they saw about a 20 to 25% increase in calls.

“The kids I have seen coming in, not only are there more of them, but they are in higher need. They were left in a situation longer than they would have been so the situation was that much worse,” Wright said.

Wright said they are also at a 10-year low when it comes to licensed foster families in the state because the pandemic forced the pause of orientation classes.

As the need grows, Wright hopes they will eventually be able to expand.

“Not only so we can stock more clothes for kids but so we can house other non-profit grassroots like us, that do this super important work for these foster families, foster kids, everybody who is involved in the system,” Wright said.

Wright said she knows what she is doing is making a difference, but she wants to encourage others to get involved.

“It is going to take all of us to help these kids get clothes, get a mentor, they need all of these things and I am just one piece of the puzzle,” Wright said.

In partnership with Casino Del Sol, KOLD presented Wright with a $300 gift card.

Wright said that money will go toward buying new clothes and shoes for children.

If you have gently-used clothes to donate, you can drop them in the blue bin at 1870 West Prince Road.

If you know someone who exemplifies Arizona’s ‘heart and sol’ you can submit a nomination here.

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