Reinvented: A free place for C-R kids to shop for basics
By Jim Poole
Cobleskill-Richmondville students who need the most basic items––deodorant, shampoo, clothes––can get them at the high school.
The place to go is ‘Reinvented,’ right across from the library on the ground floor. Reinvented has everything from pencils to overcoats and boots, plus hygiene items. . .pretty much anything a teenaged student would need.
And everything is free.
The store is the brainchild of Danielle Hay, who coordinates C-R’s STRIVE program, and Kristin Komarinski, a guidance counselor.
Both are involved with the district’s Strategic Plan and serve on the At-Risk Committee, which aims to help kids who might not come to school.
And although the reasons not to attend school may be many, Reinvented targets those that could make a student feel uncomfortable or different.
“Maybe they don’t have clean clothes or proper hygiene,” said Ms. Hay. “Or they don’t have gym shorts or warm clothing in winter.”
They borrowed the idea from Mohonasen Central School and molded it to fit C-R. Start-up money for racks and hangers came from the Cobleskill-Richmondville Education Foundation.
At first, they had only items from the Komarinski and Hay families, but others began contributing, too. Reinvented has gently-used clothing, coats and shoes, school supplies and hygiene items.
Although most families can clothe and supply their children, some can’t. Ms. Komarinski dates a shift in the local population from when Guilford Mills closed in 2001 and 565 jobs left town.
Ms. Komarinski believes fewer professionals from SUNY Cobleskill and Cobleskill Regional Hospital live in the area, leaving a less-affluent population.
“There were big changes and trauma,” Ms. Komarinski said. “And then with the flooding [of Irene and Lee], some of these families never recovered.”
Reinvented answers those needs. It’s open several times during the school day, staffed by at least one adult and students who help.
It’s popular, too, and there’s no stigma of who might be picking up free stuff.
“This is a judgment-free zone,” Ms. Hay said. “Kids can find what they need.”
Sometimes, they find more than that.
“We’ll have kids who come in and say, ‘This will fit my mom,’ ” said Ms. Komarinski. “We’re fine with that.”
Donations are frequent, and Reinvented has about a half-dozen full racks of clothes, shelves of shoes and boots and cabinets of school supplies and hygiene items.
“Kids are constantly coming in to see what’s new,” Ms. Komarinski said.
Students help out. Those in Participation in Government take part, those in Employment Training in School work at Reinvented, and students in clothing and textile classes dress mannequins.
Students also handwrite thank-you notes to donors, who now number in the 70s.
“It’s really become a high school community and a community-at-large project,” Ms. Komarinski said.
They are accepting teen-sized clothing, but donors must call first. Anyone can reach Ms. Hay or Ms. Komarinski at the high school, 518-234-3565