MAYFIELD, Ohio — Foster kids, families, and students are finding solace inside what used to be a storage room at Mayfield High School. The room has transformed to help with a growing struggle within the community with free clothes and hygiene products.
It’s called the “Pay it Forward Room.”
The room came about after a call for help with clothing donations from Alexis Giammaria’s aunt, who represents foster kids within the community. The response was so overwhelming Mayfield High School administrators stepped in to help store some of the items at the school only to realize their own students were struggling with basic necessities as well.
Giammaria, a junior, has been helping sort donations now housed at the school for months while leading Capstone seniors who assist with the room as well.
“I feel very invested in it,” she said. “I know it’s making a difference in the community, it just really showed you know how people are not as fortunate as you and it made me like you know very upset but more giving to give back.”
Jerry Turk, a Spanish teacher who also oversees the school’s Interact Club, told News 5 that over the past two years more and more students have been struggling with clothing and other needs.
"I’m asking someone to study for a test when they don’t have enough at home…asking them to do something like that is not realistic,” Turk said. “Our job is to make sure that everyone has enough so that’s what this room is about.”
With the help of a dwindling $1,500 school budget and passionate students leading efforts, their mission is outgrowing its current space.
“By next year we’re going to be having a classroom to put all the finished boxes so we can use this room as our folding room,” Giammaria said.
Turk says the room will allow families and students to “shop” for all they need with dignity and discretion.
“Service never ends,” he said. “Our job is to make sure that everyone has enough and when that happens, we’re successful.”
Giammaria says donations are still needed, especially teen clothing and hygiene items. Drop-offs can be made at the school’s front office.