Photo courtesy Socorro ISD
Local chapters of the Lions International Club, in partnership with the Socorro Independent School District, had a uniform swap at Eastlake High School to help families prepare for the new year with school clothes.
The 11th annual uniform swap, held on July 17th, allowed parents to donate or turn in clean, gently used uniforms at local businesses in exchange for a voucher, which they used the day of the uniform swap to pick out uniforms for their children.
“They’re well organized and it’s a good help for the community,” said Becky Rosales, parent of a fourth-grade student at Mission Ridge Elementary School. “The fact that we are able to give something and get something in exchange I think it’s really awesome.”
Alicia Bautista attended the event with her daughter to pick out uniforms for her granddaughter who will be starting kindergarten this year at Lujan-Chavez Elementary School.
“This is just awesome because we have the opportunity to exchange items for our benefit as well as for others,” Bautista said. “I feel like it’s a great opportunity for us to be receiving these items and I am so grateful.”
Local partnering businesses included two National Self Storage locations, Xtreme Core Fitness, Progressive, Liberty Tax, and Farmers Insurance Elizabeth Correa Agency.
As students head back to classrooms this school year, members of the Lions Club recognized the need more than ever for the uniform swap. With the ongoing pandemic impacting many families financially, the members wanted to be able to help families again.
“As a service organization our motto is to serve. It brings a lot of self-satisfaction that what we do has a positive impact in the community,” said Orlando Rodriguez, co-director for the Ysleta Lions Club.
Club members and volunteers said the event was a rewarding an experience for everyone involved.
Fourteen-year-old volunteer Hector Andazola helped at the uniform swap, alongside his grandmother. He has volunteered at the event for several years.
“I just look forward to this event every year because I think it’s fun and it’s great to meet new people,” Andazola said. “Being here just makes me feel like I’m doing something right and that I’m doing something to better my community.”
Wilhelmina “Willy” Dockum, a 91-year-old Lions Club member, said the pandemic has forced a lot of changes and has adversely affected many people. She encouraged people to find comfort in volunteering or joining a club just as she has.
“At my age, I’m lucky to be here,” she said. “I just love what I do here, and my soul is content.”
Rodriguez said he was grateful the club could continue to provide families with this option, especially after such a difficult time during the pandemic.
“We are thankful to the Socorro Independent School District,” he said. “Every year they graciously support us by providing the facilities, like their gym, to be able to provide this service to the community.”