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Gloria Griffith and Joann Olivas

For the past six years, Springfield Schoool District employees Gloria Griffith and Joann Olivas have supplied free used clothing to district families through their volunteer project, the Clothing X-Change. "I noticed a portable classroom that wasn't being used," says Olivas, who was then Family Center coordinator at Springfield Middle School. "I asked the principal about it." Springfield/Marcola Family Resource Center coordinator Griffith brought the idea to the school board, "and that's how it all got started." Two-thirds of the X-Change's stock comes in by way of an arrangement with UO housing. Donation barrels are placed in residence halls for the final ten days of the school year, when students are moving out. "We empty the barrels every day and haul it away by truck," says Olivas, who has spent a couple of hours daily this summer sorting through a mountain of clothes. "We guessed it was five tons." During the school year, clothing is sorted and racked by students to earn community-service credits. "They divert several tons of reusable goods from the landfill," say UO Housing Recycling Coordinator Robyn Hathcock. "It makes an impressive difference."

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 21 August 2003

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