Payton Brown and her mother, Mary Beth, are a force to be reckoned with as a two-person charitable movement. Lafayette High junior Payton started P’s Traveling Closet, a clothes collection effort that distributes gently used clothing to Rockwood residents in need. Now, as winter sets in three years after its creation, they find they have a surplus of winter clothes available for people who need them.
The “closet” is in Payton’s parents’ basement.
“We pick clothes out of several storage bins we have and drop them off at schools, according to what social workers tell us people need,” Payton said.
The clothes are collected in bins and sorted by season, gender and size.
Multiple individuals have already reached out to Payton and Mary Beth for help. The duo specifically recalled one high school girl they became aware of who needed two dresses for a special occasion.
“We didn’t normally carry formal dresses,” Mary Beth said. “But this was such an honor – we wanted to be able to help.”
They released the student’s request into their network of helpers and received donations in the form of physical dresses and monetary contributions.
“I asked my escadrille team members for donations,” Payton said. “If we each donated five dollars, the girl would have enough to buy two dresses, or jewelry or shoes. In the end with all the donations we got 15 dresses for our inventory. Plus, we were able to give the girl some money so she could figure out what she wanted and pick it out … I hope people can open up and see how good it feels to help others out. It opened my eyes to learn I go to a school where some people are in need. It feels good to help out.”
Mary Beth says families in need or people with clothes to donate should reach out to the social workers in Rockwood schools. They are aware of P’s Traveling Closet.
“Then we will see what they need and help as best as we can,” Mary Beth said. “It’s very anonymous. I deliver the bag of clothes to the social workers and they pass it on.”