MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- Rebecca Ward and Emma Lobel received the Blum Award from the Larchmont Rotary Club for their work with the "Clothes Closet," a club they founded together at Mamaroneck High School.
Ward and Lobel have done community service together since they were in Hommocks Middle School. When they entered Mamaroneck High School, they decided to find their own way of serving their community, which in 2009 was feeling the effects of a prolonged recession.
"We decided that we really wanted to help out people in our local community because we knew there was so much need," said Lobel, a Larchmont resident. After brainstorming, one word came to mind: Fashion.
"We both are into clothes and fashion and we wanted to be able to talk first-hand to people and not just drop clothes off in a box," said Lobel, a Larchmont resident. "We wanted to meet the people we were giving the clothes to, know what they're like, what else they need and what else we could do for them. And so we came up with the idea for the 'Clothes Closet.'"
The two MHS seniors started as a two-person operation their freshman year and collected between 7,000 and 8,000 articles of clothing, which they sorted themselves and gave away to those in need. To lighten the work load, they made it a high school club the following year and now, in their fourth year, have more than 35 members.
The actual clothes closet opens one day every April at the CAP Center, 134 Center Ave. Residents in need can take anything they want and as much as they need, Lobel said.
"The community has been really good about it and it's become pretty well known," Lobel said.
The girls have been able to use Pink on Palmer and PDQ Mail in Larchmont all four years, and Sweet Teez for the past years, as drop-off locations. This past April, all three collected a total of 13,000 articles of clothing, which helped 120 local families.
"We have people taking garbage bags full of clothing," said Lobel, who donates all left-over clothes to the White Plains Shelter.
For their efforts, Ward and Lobel were honored with the Blum Award, which recognizes MHS students who exemplify the Rotary principle of service above self.
Presenting the Blum Award to these truly selfless young women is just one example of the way Rotary Club of Larchmont dedicates itself to the needs of our community," said Christopher Cassese, president of the Rotary Club of Larchmont.
Don't forget to Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.