Since the new school year began at the beginning of the month, students and staff members at Boulder City High School have made a variety of changes to help ensure their health and welfare in the wake of COVID-19.
The one thing at the school that hasn’t changed is the need for the Eagles Closet, and that’s good news.
In the wake of many families facing financial challenges after losing their jobs or being temporarily laid off, there wasn’t a surge of people clamoring for aid, said Barbara Agostini, who founded and organizes the Eagles Closet.
That, however, doesn’t mean there isn’t a need for the Closet, which gives clothes, hygiene items, “grab and go” foods, school supplies and gift cards to BCHS students and other children in need.
There is always a need, Agostini said, which is why she operates the Eagles Closet year-round.
“I help the kids as much as I can.”
Recipients don’t have to apply or meet any qualifications to visit the Closet. All they have to do is ask and Agostini is there to lend a helping hand and get them what they need.
She said she was able to help even when the school was closed last year and no one was allowed on campus because she had some gift cards she could give out.
“I did take care of the kids I knew about, but without being able to see them I was not as aware of what they needed,” she said, adding that when she saw kids in the lunchroom not eating she knew it was time to spring into action.
She said keeping the Closet stocked, particularly with clothing, is kind of a hit-or-miss thing because she never knows exactly what the youth will need or what sizes she will have available. Currently, she is low on shoes.
Agostini started the Eagles Closet around 2010 after seeing a need at the school, where she has worked since 1999, and while trying to figure out what to do with clothes her daughter no longer wore.
“She and all her friends cleaned their closets out,” Agostini said. “They still bring things to me.”
Today, she accepts donations from throughout the community.
Agostini said she carefully goes through clothing donations she receives to find age-appropriate attire. Anything that she can’t use is donated to other organizations.
At the moment, clothing donations are needed most because the school district is providing free breakfast and lunch to all students.
She also appreciates the donation of gift cards to places such as Albertsons, the 99 Cents Only Store, Walmart, Target and local eateries.
That enables the recipients to get exactly what they need and for kids to visit a restaurant with their friends and not feel out of place because they have no money.
She said peer acceptance is so important for teens. “If they don’t fit in, they don’t do well.”
Agostini said she used to provide all the fixings for traditional holiday dinners, but found gift cards to the grocery store work better because not everyone may have a place to cook a turkey dinner or they can stretch their budgets further with other items.
She said she is passionate about helping, and anyone who knows Agostini knows no truer words have been spoken. Not only does she make sure the community’s kids are taken care of, she volunteers at many events.
“It’s a good feeling to know that I’m helping.”
But it’s a even better feeling to know that she is there, ready to answer a call for help whenever it comes.
Anyone who would like to help the Eagles Closet can call Agostini at the high school, 702-799-8200, ext. 4065.
Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at email@example.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.