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Boutique-style nonprofit gives clothes to women, kids in R-7 School District

Posted at 6:23 PM, Jan 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-16 19:23:09-05

ODESSA, Mo.  — An Odessa-based nonprofit is making sure no child goes to school feeling ashamed of what they're wearing.

Helen's House gives new and gently used clothing to women and kids in the R-7 School District.

Founder Brenda Neidel created the boutique last May when she felt a need to serve her community.

"I felt like I'd been blessed, and I wanted kids to be able to wear new clothes to school so they're not bullied or made fun of," Neidel said.

Using her own resources, Neidel and a handful of volunteers created Helen's House, which Neidel named after her mother, from the ground up.

The store is full of clothing racks organized by size. It has everything from undergarments to accessories.

"I want you to feel like you've walked into a boutique," Neidel said.

Currently, the shop is set up so that women and kids who live within the R-7 School District can come and pick out two full outfits each every 90 days.

There's also a table, chairs and TV set up for kids to hang out at while their mom shops.

"It definitely puts a smile on my face when a woman walks out and she's so excited about the outfit and the accessories she got to match," Neidel said.

Neidel recently applied for and was awarded a $2,500 grant from the Lafayette Children's Fund, which will go toward buying new clothing for the store as well as help fund the new location. Neidel works hard to spend the money wisely. Her store is full of quality clothing, some of it brand new.

Vice President Catherine Harcourt is happy to volunteer her time for a community she loves.

"We want the people in this town to know that they matter," Harcourt said. "It's a very small town, but they will literally give the shirt off their back for each other, they're wonderful here."

Neidel said she hopes future grant money will allow families to be able to come in every 60 days.

She said all the hard work pays off when someone leaves her store feeling great in their new outfit.

"That makes me feel so good," Neidel said.

Donations of new or gently used clothing can be dropped off at the store at 211 W Mason St. in Odessa. It is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Families who plan to shop at the store need to bring a proof of residency in the R-7 School District.