Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Photo: MPS safety assistant Kimberly McLaughlin created "Mama Mac's Closet" to provide much-needed clothing and supplies to students at South Division.
During a winter season about 10 years ago, MPS safety assistant Kimberly McLaughlin noticed many South Division High School students weren’t wearing coats.
“My kids come from all over the world and don’t know about the Wisconsin winter,” said McLaughlin, who has served as a safety assistant at South Division for 21 years.
So she began collecting coats from parents, staff and the community. Word spread quickly that “Mama Mac,” the nickname McLaughlin is known by to students and staff at South Division, was seeking items for those in need.
That led to other donations including clothing for children and adults and hygiene products. The outpouring of support led to the opening of Mama Mac’s Closet.
“Word has spread on the south side about Mama Mac’s Closet and families are really grateful and appreciative,” McLaughlin said. Besides helping South Division students and their families, donations to the closet also have benefitted people at many shelters.
McLaughlin has received numerous cards and letters thanking her for the help she has provided through the years.
“I just want everyone to know how important it is to help the students and families, not just from South Division but the surrounding community,” she said. “The response has been outstanding and I couldn’t do it without everyone’s help.”
Photos: Donations that fill Mama Mac's Closet continue to benefit South Division students as well as nearby community members.
This story is part of a series appearing during American Education Week, November 15-21, highlighting the contributions made by alumni, community partners, school-based and secretarial staff, district support staff and families to help Milwaukee Public Schools in its mission to provide successful student outcomes.