Mom Launches School Clothing Drive

Kathryn Bermudez, right, and Nikki Payne, left, are collecting gently used clothing to distribute to needy kids. Ms. Bermudez and Ms. Payne are pictured from left with John Holden, Ms. Payne's fiancé; Nicole Rodriguez, Ms. Bermudez's daughter, and Francis Rodriguez, Ms. Bermudez's husband, outside The Salty Canvas on Newtown Lane. Christine Sampson

A recent playdate in the park has inspired a communitywide effort to help local kids in need get new clothing for school this year.

During that playdate, when her daughter's friend became upset at the thought of not having anything new to wear to school, Kathryn Bermudez got emotional herself and decided to launch a communitywide clothing drive.

Ms. Bermudez, whose family owns VIP Hamptons Cleaning, has put out a call via social media and word-of-mouth for new or gently used clothing for school-age children. She is looking for pants in sizes 4T to 16 and shirts in sizes extra small to extra large.

"I was trying to help these two families at the park," Ms. Bermudez said. "It started off as something small and it got really huge. It's a big blessing."

Her goal is to help at least 100 families. She has reached out to churches, shelters, and social workers at the Family Service League, who have provided the ages and sizes of boys and girls who could benefit from the clothing drive. Ms. Bermudez plans to wash all the clothes, then wrap them in beautiful packaging for the kids to open.

"I went through a tough time once with my daughter," she said. "There's nothing wrong with a hand-me-down. It's very important to give back. I take children to heart because I have one of my own."

Ms. Bermudez will be collecting donations until Friday. Clothing can be dropped off at the Salty Canvas, at 94 Newtown Lane in East Hampton, which is owned by Nikki Payne, a friend whom Ms. Bermudez has known since her days at East Hampton High School. Contributors can also arrange for donations to be picked up by calling VIP Hamptons Cleaning at 631-324-1201.