About Us

From living in unstable environments, homelessness, and access to resources, students are struggling now more than ever from problems caused by situational poverty.

Our goal is to keep them from feeling the embarrassment, shame, and negative effects that stem from circumstances outside of their control.

At The Giving Closet project (The GCP), we are teachers, community members, and business leaders who are using simple, effective solutions to address the problems students face in our school communities.

Our Mission & Vision

To meet students’ basic needs, so they can build their confidence and self-worth, and have an opportunity for an overall better quality of life.

A Message from Our Founder

When I started my teaching career 11 years ago, working in the inner city opened my eyes to what living in poverty truly meant. Because many students were unable to afford their school supplies, I would buy them myself. My students would walk into my classroom on the first day of school and be surprised to see all new folders and binders neatly stacked on top of their desks. 

I regularly brought breakfast and snacks to my kids because, other than lunch, I knew that would be the only food they would have for the day. If I saw a student walking around in pain because their shoes were too small, I would buy them shoes that actually fit. 

Some of my fondest memories are of Pancake Friday. Almost every Friday morning, I’d cook pancakes on the griddle for my class, just to show them how much I cared. The smiles on their faces were priceless. Little did I know, this would be the beginning of how my passion of working with children would turn into something much more than just helping the students within the four walls of my classroom…

Yes, touching the lives of 24 students each year was rewarding, but I wanted to help more children. Each year that went by, the number of children living in poverty kept increasing. I would often ask myself, “How come there are so many children in need like this? If their parents can’t help them, who can? What can I do to help all of these children in need?” 

Fast forward to April 2016.

After seeing piles of clothes, lunch boxes, and other items being discarded year after year from our school’s lost and found, I came up with the idea of turning it into something much more. I discussed my idea with my class, and their eyes lit up with excitement just talking about it.

My students knew my favorite book is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, and in minutes we had the perfect name: The Giving Closet Project. It was then that I realized The Giving Closet Project is an idea that can be implemented in every school across America to help those in need.

With the help of my class, school, community businesses and leaders, and people like you, The Giving Closet Project continues to grow and move forward. If you haven’t found a way to get involved yet, I encourage you to do so. No matter how you choose to help, your contribution will make a world of difference in the life of a child! 

Jennifer Smith

Founder, CEO & Advocate for Our Future Leaders of Tomorrow The Giving Closet Project

Play a part in a project of purpose.

There are children right here in our community who need your help.