SARASOTA, Fla.-They were barely teenagers when two Sarasota friends decided to help students less fortunate than themselves.
That was when 16-year-old Sydney Sforzo and 16-year-old Chelsea Lea got the idea to start The Giving Closet.
“It’s called Giving Closet and it began in middle school going through our closet annual clean out,” said Sforzo, “We got to thinking we could do something more meaningful than just giving it away.”
The cafeteria tables at Gocio Elementary will be filled with clothing for families in need to pick up Thursday evening.
“We keep handing them bags here all night until everything pretty much is gone barely have anything to clean up,” Sforzo said,
“It's awesome to see kids grab things for their moms, dads sisters. It’s rewarding,” said Lea.
While in 8th grade the best friends started collecting gently used clothes at their school Out of Door Academy.
It started as a sale at the school to help students who couldn’t afford their schools tuition explained Lea.
In three years these soon to be juniors in high school will have raised $6,000
“Today at Gocio we’re bringing clothes not sold during our sale. We started partnering with Title 1 schools, Gocio, Tuttle, the Boys and Girls Club. We bring clothes not sold for families of these schools and organization to take as much as they need to help them,” said Sforzo. “It’s amazing to see how much it's grown and what we’ve done to help other kids with an idea that came into our heads in middle school.”
Sforzo said she owes her generosity to her grandfather sports announcer, Dick Vitale.
“He’d probably say 'It’s awesome baby.' He’s proud of me. His community service and outreach has impacted my life,” said Sforzo.
Sforzo and Lea said they would like to see the Giving Closet continue when they head off to college in two years. They’re hoping to mentor other students who are as a passionate about the program as they are.