A small storage room at the Park South Family YMCA is stuffed with racks of everything from school uniforms, to warm coats, to undergarments. In this storage room alone, there is enough clothing for dozens of families.
This is where the South Dallas non-profit Carter’s House provides extra support for those struggling to afford the basics to fill their closets with new and used clothing.
Duncanville native Shawana Carter founded Carter’s House about nine years ago. What began as a way to provide school uniforms for teenagers, quickly grew into a clothing bank for the whole family. The organization is based in South Dallas, but serves clients all across the area, and starting in January, will expand to Irving as well.
In the last year it has helped thousands of families.
Carter herself remembers how she felt when she was not able to provide uniforms for her three children about ten years ago. At the time, Carter and her then husband were in a financial crisis and lived in a motel in Irving. She was able to turn to her parents for extra support, but Carter knew that many do not have that privilege.
She said that when people are struggling, clothing is the last thing they think about. It is the most negotiated point of people’s budgets.