April 24, 2024

Craigjspearing

Amazing design, nonpareil

UH senior launches ‘Cougar Closet’ to help fellow students in need of clothing

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Kelechi Iroegbu launched “Cougar Closet,” a new resource to help fellow students in need of clothing.

HOUSTON — A University of Houston senior has launched “Cougar Closet,” a new resource to help fellow students in need of clothing.

Inside Suite 170 of the University of Houston’s Welcome Center, any UH student can come by each Friday and grab three clothing items donated by other students.

“You look good, you feel good,” said Kelechi Iroegbu, a UH senior and Pearland Shadow Creek High School graduate.

Iroegbu first got the idea for Cougar Closet in 2020 after a clothing drive he hosted for Star of Hope homeless shelter drew huge support from the university, with more than 2,500 clothing items donated.

“I was realizing that, ‘Hey, there are probably students on campus that are needing clothes as well,” he said.

Iroegbu said he created a seven-page proposal and pitched it to the university administration, but COVID stopped the momentum until late February 2022.

“I was like, ‘I’m about to graduate, and if I don’t do this, I don’t know when I will do this or when it’ll even happen,” recalled Iroegbu.

With the help of family, friends, donation drives in dorms, and space given by Cougar Cupboard, an organization that helps students fight food insecurity, Cougar Closet opened for the first time on April 1.

“It was honestly just so surreal,” said Iroegbu. “I had students come up to me like, ‘Yeah man, I really need some professional wear.’ One of the students that came up to me said, ‘I never have luck finding any pants that fit me, I never have luck,’ and he came up with like two or three pants.”

In all, 71 students walked out with clothes that day. It’s a trend Iroegbu expects will grow each week.

“The hope is to eventually be open five days a week, Monday through Friday, cause you know it’s not just Friday when you need clothes,” he said.

Eventually, Iroegbu hopes to expand the program to Houston ISD schools.

Anyone wanting to donate can follow the Instagram page and message them. People can also donate Fridays when the Cougar Closet is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.



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