Someone You Should Know: Leader of a volunteer-run program is connecting students with essentials to succeed

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Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 8:33 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 18, 2021 at 8:39 AM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - She connects schools with students by offering essentials to succeed. We think Jodi Reiners is someone you should know.

Jodi Reiners is the coordinator of The Caring Closet of Mitchell.

What began as a single closet in the school hallway, is now a three-room store where students can find what they need.

It was started and run by the staff at Mitchell High school, Jodi helped expand the closet to serve all of the schools in the Mitchell school district.

“When I saw her passion and her drive on what she wanted to do for the kids of our community I really knew I wanted to be a part of this,” said volunteer and Big Friend Little Friend Executive Director Linda McEntee.

She tries to cover all of the bases of what one might need in school. Such as school spirit clothing, graduation caps and gowns to hygiene kits.

“Think everyone needs to know that there are times in everyone’s life where they need help. And the big thing and the hardest part is asking for help. And this is something that is out there to help the students. So I think that is important for the kids and the parents to understand that they have what they need to be successful,” said Jodi.

Students or parents can reach out to a staff member at the school and submit a request to take clothes or essentials.

“It is very rewarding, I’m not going to lie, there’s been a lot of time and energy put into this but it’s seeing the kids’ excitement when the kids get to come here and shop for free,” said Jodi.

“Students also volunteer to run the closet pop-ups and create a safe environment for other students to feel comfortable while picking what they want and need.

They don’t have to worry about, ‘Do I have a coat that’s warm enough?’ or, ‘Am I wearing the same clothes all the time?,’ and ‘Does the clothes I’m wearing not fit me?’” said Jodi.

Jodi hopes to see more community awareness and hopes The Caring Closet will continue to help those in need.

“People really appreciate everything that Jodi does, and she puts a lot of hard work into what she does here, and she’s got such a big heart,” said McEntee.

Jodi makes a difference along with her volunteers, to make a child’s day a little brighter and not worry about clothing but rather focus on learning and growing.

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