‘The Rack:’ Furthering academic achievement through a new shopping experience

Local News

VERMILLION, S.D. (KELO) – Volunteers at the Vermillion Middle School are taking donations that will go towards a unique shopping experience for students and their families called The Rack.

“We’re serious about academic achievement and we understand that academic achievement is linked to the overall well-being of the student and so we want to take holistic approaches to these things so that we can make sure that they know that we’re here and that we care about them,” Chabli Hodge, Family Outreach Coordinator for the Vermillion School District, said.

Hodge decided to start this project called The Rack, which allows all students and families to shop for basic needs for free.

“This pandemic has shown us, it doesn’t matter, you know, how much money you make, we all might find ourselves in a position that we need assistance,” she said. “So this Rack isn’t just for one particular demographic, it really is for all of our students and families.”

Hodge started The Rack by buying clothes from local second-hand shops with grant money. Now, she’s working to take donations from the community. Hodge says The Rack will include everything from jeans, winter jackets and boots to school supplies and hygiene items.

“I think that the work that Mrs. Chabli has done just shows how much she cares for all the children in our district and I think it’s going to help alot of those who need it,” high schooler Brooklyn Williams said.

“They’ll get like a lot of love just like from all that’s happening so I feel like it will mean alot to them because like they know that people care,” high schooler Olivia Lewison said.

Hodge wants The Rack to be a ‘dignified’ experience for all who utilize it.

“So we don’t want to box up clothes and give it to them,” Hodge said. “We want them to come in, pick the things that they like, pick the things that they need and so that’s kind of how we see it servicing our students and families.”

Hodge says she hopes to do pop-up shops for The Rack in the near future.

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