Local Clothing Closet Makes A Difference


Claire Sarnowski

Thanks to the work of Lake Oswego middle and high schoolers, a new community resource is available to help make picking out daily outfits for some LOSD students a bit easier. The organization I Love Lake Oswego Clothing Closet (ILLO), is a student-led and donation-based non-profit working to provide new and gently used clothing to students throughout our community.  

The idea to start a clothing closet in Lake Oswego was spearheaded in 2019 by LOHS sophomore Ella Fuentes, and her mother, Leslie Fuentes. After volunteering at the Tigard High Caring Closet for National Charity League, the Fuenteses decided that they wanted to help LOSD students in need.

 “We realized that we did not have [a clothing closet] for our own district, but could use one. About 1000 students in our school district can not afford lunch,” said Leslie Fuentes. “Their clothes and personal hygiene may be suffering as well. We just want to help and reduce some pressure for those parents.” 

The pair established the non-profit after gaining support from the Lake Oswego School Board. Because the founders believe in students helping students, they enlisted in the help of other students in the district to get the mission started. 

LHS sophomore Chanelle Buck is a board member and an active weekly volunteer at ILLO. Buck explains that she is passionate about fulfilling the mission of ILLO because of the impact it has on our community.

 “I believe that it’s imperative to establish a foundation that works to help the struggling community of students because they are the future of our generation,” Buck said.

Despite Lake Oswego being known as an affluent community, there are misconceptions about individuals affording luxuries such as clothes on a regular basis.

 “We, as students, need to understand that there are people in our community who live without the entities that we teens frequently take for granted such as nice clothes,” Buck explained.

 Leslie Fuentes has large aspirations for the future expansion of ILLO.

“Ultimately [our mission is] to help and reach more students. If students are confident in what they are wearing, it is one less pressure at school to feel good and fit in,” said Fuentes. “By feeling confident, they can focus on working harder in their classes.” 

Because this organization survives on assistance from the community, there are various ways students can get involved with supporting ILLO when the closet reopens. You can drop off clothing items in boxes found in the lobbies of the Lake Oswego Public Library (706 4th Street) or Uplands Elementary School (2055 Wembley Park Road). For more information on ways to get involved, you can subscribe to ILLO’s email list found on their website https://www.ilovelakeoswego.com/

Students and families in need can contact ILLO through their website or by talking to their counselor. To learn about future volunteer opportunities at ILLO, you can find more information on the website.

Due to COVID-19, the ILLO closet is currently closed to the public and isn’t accepting donations at this time.