Category Archives: School Uniform Initiative

School Uniform Program

Did you know several Delaware public and charter schools have a dress code which requires students to wear a polo-style shirt and khaki-type bottoms? Some schools even require a different color shirt based on the student’s grade, making it necessary for students to have a different color shirt each year. For some Delaware families, buying items that comply with the school dress code can be a financial burden, and students may face disciplinary action when they arrive out of uniform.

In 2020, Friendship House launched a School Uniform Program through our Clothing Bank to help families with this challenge. A local public school was getting ready to resume in-person classes after the COVID shutdown, and many of their parents were struggling to afford the required items for their kids to go back to school. When they turned to us for help, we stepped up by providing 400 uniform items. Since then, we’ve grown by leaps and bounds. Last year, with your loving support, we distributed 10,362 uniforms to 18 schools, benefiting 5,000 Delaware students! This program has been a great success thanks to the amazing support from our community. We’ve doubled our warehouse space so we can run the program even more effectively and efficiently. We hope you’ll continue to support us on this important journey by helping us fill our shelves. Your kindness makes a huge difference!

Here’s what we need:

  • Solid color polos (without logos) in youth sizes 5 – 20, and adult sizes S – XL
  • Youth pants (khaki or navy color) in sizes 5 – 20
  • Men’s pants (khaki or navy color) in sizes 28 – 40
  • Women’s pants (khaki or navy color) in sizes 0 – 20
  • Monetary donation ($25 typically buys one uniform set)

We make it easy to purchase uniforms through our registries! Click and purchase, and the items will be shipped directly to us:

Interested in volunteering? We could use your help to:

  • Wash and iron used uniforms
  • Bag, tag, and box uniforms
  • Organize uniform donation drives

We know this amazing program has a huge impact. Our school partners agree too!

“On behalf of the entire A.I. Middle School community, I am writing to express our deepest gratitude for the recent donation of uniforms from Friendship House… With access to quality uniforms, all students, regardless of their economic backgrounds, now have the opportunity to attend school feeling included and equal. Many students who previously faced challenges acquiring suitable uniforms are now able to attend school with pride. Your generosity has had a profound and lasting impact on the lives of our students, and we want to convey our heartfelt appreciation.”

– Katy Richardson, School Nurse, A.I. duPont Middle School

Our School Uniform Program

The Friendship House Clothing Bank School Uniform Program is gearing up for its 4th consecutive year of distributing free, good-quality polo shirts and khaki uniform pants to public schools in Delaware. With support from the Laffey-McHugh Foundation, we piloted this program in 2020 with 1 school and provided 400 uniform items to support 75 students. Last fall, we gave 8,500 uniform items across 15 public schools to support 3,500 students! It was a record-breaking year as we doubled our reach from 2021. We were able to do this with the generosity and support of our community. Thank you for ensuring students are equipped with necessary clothing to show up to school ready to learn!

Several public schools in Delaware require students to wear a solid-color polo shirt with khaki or navy blue uniform pants to create equality and a dress code standard for all students. However, many families find it difficult to afford a special set of clothing for their children to attend school. Students not in uniform can face in-school consequences such as missing class, standing out from their peers, or even possibly being sent home which can put them at a disadvantage. This is why FH believes it is important every child has proper clothing for their school ensuring they are set up for success.

FH partners directly with the school by providing the school with items that fit their dress code. We work with principals, school administrators, or school counselors to assess the needs of their students. While we’re not able to provide a school uniform for every student, we ensure uniform items are available to families in the most need. Latoya Irving, Richardson Park Elementary School Counselor, share’s what this means to the many families she works with. “It means a lot for our families, especially being a Title 1 school, where we have so many families in need who can’t afford ongoing expenses such as food let alone uniform requirements. It’s so helpful that kids are given clean uniforms that they can wear daily to school.” We have provided school uniform items to Richardson Park Elementary since the fall of 2021.

We can’t do this alone. This fall, we’re hoping to collect and distribute 10,000 uniform items and we need your help! We are looking to collect new or gently used solid-color polo shirts and khaki or navy blue uniform pants of all sizes (youth and adult).

If you don’t have uniform items to donate, click here for our registries!

French Toast Partnership

French Toast is a clothing manufacturing company that provides schoolwear for ALL kids and ALL families from ALL walks of life. We are so grateful for our continued partnership with French Toast. Last year, French Toast provided thousands of polo shirts and khaki uniform pants for us to distribute to our community. In addition, they have sponsored a program with GiveBackBox where families across the country can send us their unused school uniform items free of charge. Their shared passion for low-income families to have access to school uniforms makes them a wonderful partner for us and has brought national recognition to our program because of this partnership.

To further their partnership with us, they have created an online Friendship House store for our community to purchase our needed uniform items and ship them directly to us. Please click here for purchasing instructions for French Toast!

2,500 Uniform Items Down, Many More To Go!

The Friendship House Clothing Bank School Uniform Initiative was developed out of an identified need in our community as the many impacts of the pandemic began to surface. One of these impacts is the barrier for families to provide their children with the necessary items to be successful in the classroom due to their financial situation. The consequences can be significant when they show up to school out of dress code. In some instances they can miss class time or face disciplinary actions to rectify the issue. We are working hard to ensure that students have access to proper dress code items, like school uniforms, regardless of their financial situation. No child should be singled out because they do not have access to a basic need.

There are students in Delaware public schools who are struggling to obtain the required dress code uniform: solid color polo shirt and khaki/navy pant. In collaboration with school district personnel, principals, resource counselors, and other administrators we are working to meet the needs of the community. For the upcoming school year, we will be providing 2,000 students, throughout 5 targeted schools in the Red Clay Consolidated School District, with uniform items.

One of our participating schools for the 2021-2022 school year is Emaela P. Warner Elementary School. They are a Title I Community School within the City of Wilmington, serving a large population of students and families on the North and West sides of Wilmington. Jolisa Baker, Site Coordinator for Warner Elementary, explained that, “For Warner, the [School] Uniform Initiative will help several families send their children to school in their uniform at the beginning of the year and throughout the year.”

“Warner Elementary is very grateful for the Friendship House School Uniform Initiative and [we] look forward to participating every year!” – Jolisa Baker

Because of you, we have 2,500 uniform items in our inventory! These items will be distributed to the schools at the end of August. But this is just the start! Each year our initiative will grow, and we will continue expanding our reach until we are able to ensure every student in Delaware has a school uniform. Our vision is large, but we are committed to do what it takes; your loving support is what will help us reach this goal.

For more information and ways to help, please click here.

School Uniform Initiative

In fall 2020, we launched a uniform initiative providing 400 uniform items to Evan G. Shortlidge Academy. Our goal is to expand this effort so no student in New Castle County will have to worry about having adequate or clean uniforms to wear to school. In fall 2021, we plan to redistribute 10,000 uniform items to 2,000 children.

We need your help! If your club, organization, company, faith community, or family and friends are looking to get involved in your community, please consider hosting a school uniform drive this spring or summer! Contact Cassandra Bryant for your uniform drive promotion kit. For more information about this initiative please click here.

The uniform items we are looking for include; clean new or gently used white/navy/light blue polos and khaki/navy pants & skirts, youth sizes; 3T-20. Donations can be brought in tied plastic bags to our Clothing Bank, located at 1603 Jessup St. Wilmington, DE 19802. Please label the bag with ‘uniform’. The Clothing Bank is open Monday-Thursday from 8:30am to 2:00pm. Anything you can donate will help equip students with a necessity. We’re so grateful for your loving support!