By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Brock Elliott store helps clothe needy youngsters
pic be-clothes-2
Lucy Arredondo goes through the Champions’ Closet inventory at Brock Elliott School. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT

Welcome to the Champions’ Closet.

Since October, Brock Elliott School had converted one of its classrooms into a store consisting of gently used donated clothes benefiting needy youngsters.

The Champions’ Closet is open by appointment-only during school business hours or before 5 p.m., Mondays through Fridays.

Everything is free and, more importantly, confidential.

Principal Debbie Ruger was credited with the idea, borrowing a page from Sierra High’s prom wear store.

“With the (tough) economy, it’s tough for some parents to afford buying school clothes,” she said on Friday.

Ruger relies on her group of parent volunteers to operate the not-for-profit business. Included are Cathy Willenbrink, Ricci Patton, Lucy Arredondo, and Paula Juarez, with each averaging about two days a week at the store.

Sierra students have also spent time there, working on their community service project, Ruger said.

The Champions’ Closet recently became available to needy families outside the Brock Elliott community, including Sequoia and French Camp schools.
All the clothes are donated. Most come from teachers, staff, families and the community.

The Champions’ Closet recently had a run of distributing coats and jeans to local youngsters, with plenty of summer clothes in stock. But, according to Patton, the store has trouble keeping boy’s sizes 8 and 10 in stock.

“Boys (wearing those sizes) are usually tough on clothes,” she said.

Ruger noted that other Manteca Unified sites are now considering starting up similar-type stores.

“That would be good,” Willenbrink added. “We can network with those schools.”

The Champions’ Closet welcomes all donations.

Donations or to schedule an appointment can be made via e-mail,