Snacks, toothbrushes, jackets, socks, deodorant — Carolyn Collins' closet has it all.
Collins is a janitor at Tucker High School in Tucker, Georgia. Four years ago, Collins was at work early when two students, a brother and sister, approached her and asked if she could help them. They were living with their mom out of a car, and were there to get ready for school in the restrooms. Collins prepared them a fruit and cereal breakfast, and decided that she was going to set up a "giving closet" for students in need. "I knew that they weren't the only kids at school who were struggling," she told The Washington Post. "And I thought, 'I'm going to do whatever I can to help these kids.' High school is hard enough without being homeless."
Collins set up shop in an unused storage room near the cafeteria, and filled it with $200 worth of food and supplies. Students know they can come up to her at any time, and she'll let them into the closet so they can take whatever they need. Collins said she thinks the closet has helped 150 students since it opened, and teachers, other students, and neighbors help her keep it stocked. She doesn't want any student to feel ashamed or embarrassed about having to take items from the closet, and told the Post, "I just hug them and love them and let them know that I'm here for them." Collins, Tucker High School Principal Eric Parker said, has "such a giving heart, she's a beacon of light for every kid in need." Catherine Garcia