NICEVILLE, Fla. (WKRG) — What started as a few extra shirts and shoes at one Northwest Florida school, is becoming a county-wide initiative to provide for students in need. School Resource Officers are stocking up for a Caring Hands Closet in Okaloosa County.

SROs with the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office are teaming up to collect clothing donations for school-aged children. Deputies are asking for donations of new or gently used clothes and shoes for children grades k through 12 until Sept. 22. A massive caring hands closet distribution day will be held Oct. 15 at the Crosspoint Church in Niceville.

“Our team with Crosspoint, Niceville has graciously volunteered their assistance with sorting any donated items that are received. Likewise, they have volunteered to help have these items ready for parents and guardians to come and shop on the day of the Caring Hands Closet event.”

OCSO Captain Holloway

The caring hands closet began after a school resource officer noticed some kids at school needed new clothes. To close the gap, the deputy gathered different clothes in varying sizes and stored them on campus.

That gesture spread to other schools. Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office said several schools built a closet by the end of the 2021-22 calendar year.

“We want to be a resource to our most precious gifts, our children. This is a need that not only affects our community, but it touches every community from urban metropolitan areas to rural America. If we can do just a little and stand in the gap so our kids have adequate necessities, then we are that much closer to a solution. To provide items such as clothes or shoes will undoubtedly alleviate the burden that seems to be all too common and faced by parents and guardians throughout our county. I believe this will allow for our kids and their parent to gain a since of pride and to understand that we at the Sheriff’s Office along with the many others in our community are willing and ready to assist.”

OCSO Captain Holloway

Donations can be taken to the OCSO Headquarters in Shalimar, at 50 2nd Street. Items can also be dropped off with any SRO at an Okaloosa County School District School.