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Students ready to use donation to help classmates

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – Huntington High School Student Body President Isaac Sutherland says he knows taking care of his fellow classmates takes money. Wednesday, he accepted a donation from Advantage Toyota and United Way of the River Cities that will go to provide items for the school’s supply pantry.

“We have students from the most impoverished areas in our community to the most lavish,” Sutherland said. “We like to meet the needs of every single student.”

The partnership between Advantage Toyota and United Way of the River Cities led to a campaign called “The Big Cover Up.” It’s a student-led initiative where the needs of classmates are met via donation of clothes, food, even Christmas gifts.

Sutherland says the money is going to their pantry, “Cliff’s Closet,” where any student can be helped, anytime, no questions asked.

“We have hygiene supplies, we have clothes, we have all kinds of food items,” Sutherland said.

Jamie McElroy is a teacher at Huntington High and helps with the pantry.

“Outside of the school is really what we benefit from here in Cliff’s Closet,” McElroy said. “We’ve got lots of donations and people bringing things in.”

Just as the needs of the school’s pantry are met with donations, so are the needs of the students, but it goes beyond supplies and food.

“This is run entirely by students that care,” Sutherland said. “We want to step in and help each other, you know, we’re family.”

Cliff’s Closet started in 2013 and it was named after a bus driver who always had donations for students in need. McElroy says the pantry serves up to 70 students a week.

“I think they just look forward to something they can take home and have for the weekend,” McElroy said. “They come back on Monday and have sort of depleted what they’ve taken out of here and they try to get things for the week.”

For community members interested in giving, McElroy says they are always in need of food for the pantry.

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