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For second year, nonprofit provides free uniforms for Baltimore elementary schoolers

The Center for Urban Families raised more than $6,000 to provide more than 350 uniforms during the 2015-16 school year, but has nearly doubled those number for 2016-17. (Courtesy of the Center for Urban Families)

BALTIMORE (WBFF) – More than 700 elementary school students in Baltimore will soon be getting free uniforms at the start of the upcoming school year, thanks to a local nonprofit group.

The "ScholarWear" initiative launched by the Center for Urban Families, which offers family support and workforce development programs to Baltimore residents, will be providing the uniforms at no cost. The 22 schools partaking in the initiative will receive them after a presentation and breakfast on Monday, Aug. 22.

Moses Hammett, organization partnership liaison for the Center for Urban Families, said the group expanded the program that was launched in 2015 after it conducted a needs assessment with schools. Feedback from principals, social workers and school resource personnel at Baltimore City elementary schools gave them a broader idea of schools’ uniform needs.

“They were starting school late” as a result of not having enough uniforms, Hammett said. “Parents would keep the kids home not knowing that there were possible resources at the school that could support kids with uniforms.”

Uniform shortages were worse for schools with high concentrations of homeless children, he said.

For the 2015-16 school year, the nonprofit’s partner organizations raised more than $6,000 for the initiative beginning in mid-July of 2015, allowing them to reach six schools and supply 350 uniforms for students.

For the 2016-17 school year, partner organizations started fundraising during the winter, generating more than $13,000 for the initiative. Thanks to that boost in funding, “ScholarWear” will now provide more than 700 uniforms for elementary school students.

The Center for Urban Families operates out of its headquarters on N. Monroe Street in the Mondawmin neighborhood. Those seeking more information about the nonprofit’s programs can click here.

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