APS clothing bank faces soaring demand as freezing temperatures linger

APS clothing bank faces soaring demand as freezing temperatures linger

The APS Community Clothing Bank and School Supply Barn helps provides students with the proper clothing and school supplies they need to succeed.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The snow may be disappearing for many in the metro, but the freezing cold temperatures overnight are sticking around.

This week there’s the added challenge of getting tens of thousands of kids to school safely with Albuquerque Public Schools returning from break Wednesday.

That starts with outfitting students with the proper clothing, which is part of the mission of the APS Community Clothing Bank and School Supply Barn.

“We’re already at about 28-percent increased need over last year,” says Erin Leue, the APS Clothing Bank’s Special Projects coordinator. “So, every year that I’ve been here – I’ve been here about seven years – we just keep seeing an exponential increase in need.”

APS provides free school supplies and clothing to any student in need thanks to a variety of partnerships and donations. Their supply rooms are almost fully stocked for now, but there’s always a need somewhere.

“We are in need of a lot of those adult sizes, especially those larger sizes,” says Leue, in reference to their supply of winter coats. “We have those high schoolers that are out there, too, that need coats.”

You can donate the coats they need by simply visiting their website for more information. Other items that are highly desired include socks, shoes, hoodies, and general school supplies such as markers, calculators, and notebooks.

With early morning temperatures expected to be in the teens and low 20s for many, it’s critical for students to be well-equipped this week for both their overall health and performance in the classroom.

“Then you have better academic outcomes. The student’s attendance will improve. Readiness for learning will improve,” says Leue.

Meanwhile, health officials are still encouraging the community to be mindful of other vulnerable populations, such as those currently experiencing homelessness. There are ways you can help if you see someone in a precarious situation during a cold night.

“I think what’s important to know is that you can do something,” says Linsday Fox, a physician assistant with UNM Health Sciences. “And we have a great resource with 3-1-1 through Albuquerque Community Safety that can dispatch teams to the site that you give. Once ACS engages, they can then help the person decide if a shelter is appropriate.”

She worries about those who choose not to go to a shelter and try to brave a frigid night, risking the possibility of frostnip or even frostbite.

“They can set in as quickly as ten minutes to an half-an-hour depending on what environment you’re in,” she says. “The key is to try to stay dry. And that’s why we really want to get folks into shelters, whatever that might look like.”