Erin Hutchinson is leading by example.
The Haddam Killingworth High School junior has organized a Special Occasion Clothing Drive, a fundraiser aimed at helping women along the shoreline in need of clothing for special occasions, including job interviews.
"They're working women who put most of the money they earn towards taking care of their families and buying food," says Erin. "They really don't have much they can spend on themselves. So I think it would be a great thing to give them the confidence... To inspire these women to be able to go apply for a job, or go to the interview."
The idea for the clothing drive, Erin says, came from a fellow member of the , where she serves as a student deacon.
Beginning today, donations can be dropped off at the church on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and on Fridays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
"Special occasion" clothing includes everything from jackets and blouses to slacks and dresses. Accessories, like belts or purses, are also wanted.
"If they're gently used than another woman would love to use it," says Erin, who will distribute the clothing she's collected on Feb. 4, at the Shoreline Food Pantry at the in Clinton.
The event will give women the opportunity to pick-out and try-on clothing. Light refreshments will be served as well.
Last month, Erin began collecting items at HKHS, where she's an officer with Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD). The fundraiser will also help her in her own goal of becoming a member of the National Honor Society.
"It kinda started off as a act of leadership for that, but it snowballed into this other thing which I think is really great and I'm really excited to be a part of that and to help these women," she says.
Erin and a group of friends recently spent an evening in Hartford, wrapping gifts for the Boys and Girls Club shopping night.
"It feels really wonderful. I love getting inovolved and doing community service and I think this is really great, helping those around me. You can definitely feel the impact."