Community effort stocks student boutique at Salem High School

Published: May. 24, 2023 at 7:05 PM EDT
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SALEM, Va. (WDBJ) - Visit the Recharge Boutique, and you’ll find racks filled with brand new merchandise and not a price tag in sight.

Located in a former classroom at Salem High School, it’s a place where anyone in the school community who needs clothing can shop for free.

Beth Denton is a math teacher and coach at Salem High School. She’s the faculty sponsor of the Recharge Boutique.

“It’s hard to learn if you’re hungry,” Denton explained. “It’s hard to learn if you feel out of place, so we want them to feel like they are part of this community.”

Walmart provided a major donation of clothing, and other local businesses, including Cato Fashions, Habitat ReStore, NEW’D, Salem Antique Market and Vintage Vault, stepped up to stock the boutique.

Terri Kelly is owner of Salem Antique Market, and provided furniture and other furnishings to help display the inventory.

“It’s a great cause,” Kelly said Wednesday afternoon. “There’s such a need in our communities.”

Members of the Spartan Robotics team played a central role in establishing the shop. Wednesday afternoon, they helped cut the ribbon on the new operation.

“We’ve gotten far more clothes than we imagined we would have,” said Robotics team captain Adam Greene. “We’ve gotten far more people to help than we thought we could. And it’s helped a lot more people than we thought we would. So it’s really nice.”

“I see a lot of hard work put into this, put into setting this up,” added team member and fellow Salem High School senior Thomas Hinson. “I see a lot of hard work going into running it. And I see, more so, the promise for the future.”

The store has actually been open for a few weeks, serving more than 100 students with more than 400 items of clothing, shoes and hygiene products. It’s proof, organizers say, the Recharge Boutique is addressing a need.