Last year, current sophomore Ella Fuentes and her mom founded “I Love Lake Oswego,” an organization that helps to provide free new or gently used clothing to students in need within the Lake Oswego School District. The nonprofit emphasizes student involvement, and its board of directors includes Fuentes (President), senior Lena Wehn (Secretary/Personal Relations), sophomore Jiexi Qiao (Treasurer) and senior Ashley Piccolo (Volunteer Coordinator).
Wehn recalled, “They [the Fuenteses] are part of NCL, and they work along with the Tigard/Tualatin Caring Closet. And they thought, ‘Hey, we don’t have anything like that in Lake Oswego, and we definitely have a need for that.’ So they started looking into what it means to start an organization that works the same way.”
“I Love Lake Oswego” does not ask questions about clients’ personal financial situations. If you show up to the closet, you’ll be given clothing; you don’t need to demonstrate need.
Organizations like this, however, aren’t possible without help from the community. “To volunteer, you can get in touch with any of us; you also can go to the website
[www.ilovelakeoswego.com]. You can also donate on the website, request clothing if you’re in need or sign up for our email subscription, which is dedicated to sending out emails when there are certain clothing items that are required,” said Wehn.
Although “I Love Lake Oswego” was spearheaded by a group of students, only adults deal with contacting and serving the closet’s guests. “Only parents and adults will be at the closet when families or students come… so it’s not a conflict of interest,” Wehn explained.
“I Love Lake Oswego” is currently accepting donations in two locations: Lake Oswego Public Library (706 4th Street) and Uplands Elementary School (2055 Wembley Park Road).
Wehn concluded, “We’ve probably helped about thirteen people so far, which is cool. That’s a real number; it’s kind of crazy.”