Last fall, a group of St. Martin’s students founded the Cloaks and Dresses Club, named to honor the school’s patron saint who selflessly gave half his cloak to a naked beggar. The club provides clothing for at-risk children and teens throughout the city of New Orleans.
Senior Clara Conatser, club founder and president, says kids who are suddenly removed from dangerous environments often own nothing more than the clothes on their backs. The club hopes that its gifts of clothing articles will help youth feel stronger and more self-confident, especially knowing that the items have been purchased by caring teens. The club also helps provide formal or semi-formal clothing for school or other events.
During weekly meetings last year, club members worked on fundraising, planned shopping expeditions, and created clothing tags with words of encouragement such as inspirational quotes or scriptures to offer love, support, and comfort to children and teens in difficult situations.
Throughout the 2019-20 school year, the club accepted purchased or donated items, and held fundraiser bake sales. In all, 194 items were purchased or donated during the academic year, including more than $2,050 worth of new items.
Due to COVID-19, other fundraising activities were cancelled. However, the club members were resourceful and had two successful delivery bake sales this summer. In addition, they created a website for fundraising. All of the proceeds collected will be used to purchase new clothing items for children and teens in the area.
The club is looking forward to continuing its mission in 2020-21, and seeks donations of new clothing with tags for boys and girls of any age or size.
Club members include Abbie Beck, Rikki Bourg, Kaylee Caracci, Clara Conatser, Prudence Dudley, Cami Figueroa, Grace Fleshman, Leven Greene, Katie LaForge, Diamond Lewis, Ryn Patin, Ava Richard, Catherine Ronquillo, and Rachel Royerre. Ms. Mary Bond is the club’s faculty advisor.