Clean clothes can't be taken for granted - one local school is getting some help

You likely have heard this before: a kid who goes to school hungry can't learn as well as one who is well fed.

The same may apply to the clothes they wear. If they're stained or don't smell good, that could lead to diminished attendance or even bullying.

A local organization that became aware of this problem in a Wilmington middle school decided to take action.

Friday, the delivery of a new washer and dryer drew cheers in the halls of The Bayard School. The appliances were given to the school at no charge through The Home Depot Foundation. The donation was arranged by Representative Sherry Dorsey Walker (D- Wilmington). 

"That's the difference between them coming to school and not coming to school. That's the difference between them being bullied and not being bullied," Dorsey Walker said.

According to Bayard Secondary Campus Leader Vincent DeLillio, several faculty members have been taking home students' clothing and doing loads of wash for them.

"This will help with attendance. This will help with the student feeling more confident in school," DeLillio said.

The Bayard School has one of the highest poverty rates among its students in the state. Many families do not have washers or dryers at home, and getting out to do laundry can be a challenge - and it can be expensive.

"This is going to allow us to be able to help them get their clothes clean so they feel good about themselves and not have any attendance issues - they'll be able to come to school every single day," The Bayard School Campus Leader Victoir Cahoon added.

Members of the local Alpha Kappa Alpha Newark Chapter, Sigma Zeta Omega, also contributed supplies for the first 800 loads of wash.

"Children of all ages need clean clothes, so they can further their hygiene and also further their educational purposes," SZO Newark President Styna LeCompte said.

Volunteers will also take part in washing activities and do so in such a way that protects the student's identity.