Pay it Forward: Tooele Community Closet

Christy Johnson reacts to a $500 donation from Mountain America Credit Union to help with community outreach and the Tooele Community Closet (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) Many families in Tooele County are living in poverty, even to the point of homelessness.

The Tooele County School District is doing its part to help its students and their families who are struggling.

That's where Christy Johnson comes in. She is in charge of community outreach for the district.

Her office is stocked with shoes, clothing, and hygiene supplies to give to students all over the district.

"We have clothing available to children in our district year-round," said Johnson.

Johnson has even been affectionately called the "Shoe Lady," by some students.

"Every day we have kids that need shoes," she said.

She has been taking care of homeless and disadvantage children in the the Tooele County School District for three years.

She doesn't just provide them clothes, socks, underwear, and shoes--she also makes it possible for kids to discreetly shower at school, and even takes kids on shopping trips with their parents.

"I wish I could do more," Johnson said. "I always kid that I could spend a million dollars easily."

A big part of her efforts is a back-to-school closet she organizes for Tooele County families.

"I call it my 'Super Bowl' project for the year," she said.

The Tooele Community Closet is an event where parents can pick up clothes, shoes, and backpacks for free.

"We estimated last year we had 400 families come," said Johnson.

Parents and their children will line up outside Tooele Junior High for hours before the doors open.

"It's a huge response every year," Johnson said.

By the end of the event, the shelves are practically empty.

Johnson and the Tooele County School District are hoping the community will step up and donate new and gently used clothing, new socks and underwear, and new backpacks for this year's event.

"It's easy to clean out your closet and they don't have stuff you can wear anymore but someone else can use it," said Johnson.

Mountain America Credit Union donated $500 to help out. The Sahara Cares Foundation also contributed $500.

The next Tooele Community Closet is scheduled for Saturday, August 5th at Tooele Jr. High.

Cities within Tooele County will be holding clothing drives to get ready for the back-to-school event.

Here are items needed for the closet:

- New Socks (All Sizes)

- New Underwear (All Sizes)

- New and Gently Used Shoes (Toddler to Adult sizes)

- Gently Used Clothing (4T to size 16, Girls & Boys/ Adult Sizes, S-XL Men's & Women's)

- School Supplies (pencils, colored pencils, crayons, glue sticks, notebooks)

- New Backpacks

If you have questions or want to make a monetary donation, you can contact Christy Johnson. Her information is below:

Christy Johnson

Community Outreach

Tooele County School District

435-833-1900 ext 1943 Office

435-830-4706 Cell