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Free winter clothing for children at juvenile justice center

Bill O'Brien / Red Dirt Report
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OKLAHOMA CITY -- On a recent gray morning, those entering the Juvenile Justice Center of Oklahoma County in Oklahoma City were greeted with the site of a blonde-haired woman folding children’s clothing from boxes and placing them on a large table that bore a sign that read, “Warmth For Winter” followed by “Take What You Need.” 

She explained that she is J’me Overstreet, the Director of the Oklahoma County Juvenile Bureau, which is housed in the Juvenile Justice Center. The clothing she was folding had been donated by various parties and is being offered for the children of Oklahoma City to ensure that they have adequate warm clothing for the winter months. 

Overstreet told of how the current project grew out of a prior undertaking, known as the “Clothing Closet”,  that offered several racks of donated professional clothing to young people who needed such attire for job interviews, school, and court appearances. The success of "Clothing Closet" resulted in an effort to furnish winter clothing for the children who are served by the Juvenile Justice Center.

The table resembled those featured at upscale children’s clothing stores in the Oklahoma City area and included a variety of brightly colored long sleeve shirts and sweaters, as well as a collection of red socks with white circles on them that resembled Christmas stockings in front of a fireplace. Pants and jeans in small sizes were available as well, and a row of small shoes was displayed under the table. 

Many of the parents who entered the structure after going through the metal detector  initially seemed oblivious to the clothing as they hurriedly made their way to court hearings or interviews and meetings with Oklahoma Department of Human Services employees who   are situated in the structure, but as the morning progressed, many of them could be seen at the table examining the attire offered  in a hopeful manner. Shirts and sweaters were placed on children, and many of them smiled joyously as they departed the place with their new winter attire. 

Several members of the DHS staff assisted their clients in selecting clothing and could be heard telling the children wearing them how good they looked in them in a way the reflected those warm bonds between those staffers and the families that they serve.  Overstreet further reported  that the table will remain in place until all of the donated clothing has been selected, and that next week warms children’s coats that have been donated will be offered.  

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About the Author

Bill O'Brien

Bill O'Brien is an attorney based in Oklahoma City.

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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