Palisades Teen Creates ‘Claire’s Closet’ to Help Store Supplies for the Homeless; Donations Sought    

Claire Healy (left) heard that outreach workers Glanda Sherman and Jessi Cortez, needed a place to store supplies to aid the homeless and founded a closet for them in the Methodist Church.

While many teens and young adult women are thinking about buying new clothes and having brand-names in their closet, Claire Healy is concerned about a different type of closest.

Claire’s Closet, which was imagined by Healy, is filled with products needed by the homeless: hygiene kits, clothes, blankets and sunscreen.

Now a freshman at UC Berkeley, Healy was working for her Girl Scout Gold Award and she wanted to do something for those in need in Pacific Palisades, her hometown.

She met with the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness and learned that the two outreach workers from The People Concern, Glanda Sherman and Jessi Cortez, often use inducements such as socks and toothpaste as a way of building trust with homeless people. Once trust is established, it becomes easier for the social workers to eventually convince these people to receive vouchers so they can be housed.

Sherman keeps the items in her car and when asked by Healy what would be helpful, she said, “We could use a storage space in the Palisades.”

Claire’s mom, DeAnn, told Circling the News that the Methodist Church is their family church and that Claire and older sister Campbell attended preschool there. The two girls participated in the church youth groups and the family knew there were lots of little nooks in the building.

Claire spoke to a woman at the church who told them, “There’s an outside closet the Boy Scouts used to use, but now it just has a few cleaning supplies,” and the woman said she would speak to the church board. They gave permission for Claire, a Palisades High student, to store supplies.

The closet is perfectly located because the PPTFH social workers do not have to enter the church or preschool but can access the closet from Via de la Paz.

“Glanda and Jessi can come here anytime,” DeAnn Healy said. “People can drop off the supplies in the church office. I pick them up and place them in the closet.”

When a Girl Scout wins a Gold Award, part of the requirement is that “It cannot end when you end,” said DeAnn, who noted that Claire went to the Church Mission Committee to make sure they “would be willing to keep the closet going” when she went off to college.

Task force member Kim Clary said that Claire spoke to their group and the church and also did presentations. “Claire did an incredible job,” Clary said.

DeAnn is working to keep the storage room and closet up to date. “The whole family learned from the process,” she said. “It [the solution to homelessness] is not as easy as you think.”

Recently DeAnn organized a drive with the church for more hygiene kits, which contain a pair of socks, wipes, toothpaste and a toothbrush, shampoo, conditioner, sunscreen, body lotion, a washcloth and soap. The cost of a kit is about $10, and what the church didn’t fund, DeAnn paid for the rest.

“This is for the workers, so that they can encourage people to get into services,” Clary said, noting that the ratio of homeless men to women is about 5 to 1.

“We’ve had a couple of interesting requests,” Clary and DeAnn told CTN, when we visited Claire’s Closet on November 22. “Two Bibles, a thesaurus and reading glasses.”

The two think that if someone wanted to donate portable radios, it “would be good so they [homeless] could keep track of what’s going on — and especially if there are evacuations.”

A wish list also includes sleeping bags, men’s jeans, shoes and white crew socks. “Pretty much everything for men,” DeAnn said.

Clary said that at a recent drive at the Woman’s Club, they received feminine hygiene products and, for the most part, “women want to get into services immediately.”

“It is empowering to know that you make a difference,” DeAnn said, when asked how Claire feels about the success of this project. “She was touched that they named it Claire’s Closet.”

Donations may be brought to the Methodist Church office, 801 Via de la Paz, Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Questions? Email DeAnn pdhealy@msn.com or sign up online at: tinyurl.com/pptfhgive

DeAnn Healy (left) and Kim Clary are working to make sure there are supplies for the Pacific Palisades outreach workers that are stored in a closet in the Methodist Church on Via de la Paz.

Items requested:

NON-PERISHABLE SNACKS, such as granola bars and water.

CLOTHES: Beanies, belts (gently used), gloves, jackets (adult-gently used), pants (jeans, especially for men – gently used), rain ponchos, scarves, shoes (gently used), socks (white crew), T-shirts and underwear (Men’s new).

HYGIENE: Soap bar, chapstick, combs, shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, hand sanitizer, lotion, nail clippers, tissues, toothpaste, toothbrush and wipes.

Claire is the daughter of Patrick and DeAnn Healy, who are long-time residents of Pacific Palisades. She and older sister, Campbell, both graduated from PaliHi.

Claire Healy and friends crafted original hand-made cards that are handed to the homeless as a way of reaching out to those who might be service resistant.

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1 Response to Palisades Teen Creates ‘Claire’s Closet’ to Help Store Supplies for the Homeless; Donations Sought    

  1. Lynn Mack-Costello says:

    Claire did an amazing job! Just a quick correction: one does not “win” the Girl Scout Gold Award. It is earned as the highest award in Girl Scouting. A girl must complete at least 80 hours of service which includes studying the root causes of an issue, working with a community partner as to how to best address those causes, and leadership is a significant portion of the work, be it training others to work with them on the issue, teaching, or engaging others in addressing the issue.

    We are so proud of all the young women in the Palisades-Brentwood-Malibu area who have met the exceedingly high standards for a successful Girl Scout Gold Award project and have truly made a difference in the lives of others.

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