Eighteen-year-olds Zoe Baris and Samantha Zabell from Orange Village, Ohio, love to help other people shop — especially kids who might otherwise not have the opportunity.
It all started four years ago, when Baris was volunteering with her mom at a clothing drive in Cleveland. She realized that she wanted to start an initiative like this in her own community, so she enlisted the help of Zabell, her childhood friend, and the mentoring advice of the National Council of Jewish Women and voilà — Share What You Wear, the one-day shopping sale for needy kids, was born.
Throughout the year, the pair accept donations and store clothes, shoes, accessories, and school supplies in Baris' basement. They recruit friends to help with the constant inflow and organization of items. They use monetary donations to buy necessary items like underwear and socks.
On shopping day, kids are provided with play dollars and permitted to "buy" 10 to 15 clothing items, all lightly worn, from Share What You Wear. Last year Share What You Wear brought in 65 boxes of 5,000 prime items for the fall shopping day.
Baris and Zabell are both high school seniors in Orange Village, on their way to out-of-state universities next fall. But that doesn't mean that Share What You Wear is on the way out. The two plan to host the event through college and then hand over the reins to other area teens. Oh, and they also plan to start new Share What You Wear events in their new college towns, with the hope of helping teens across the country start their own local projects. So be on the lookout for a Share What You Wear event to happen in your neighborhood soon!