OUR MISSION at Grace's Closet is simple
but creating HUGE change.
We help students build self confidence and succeed both in and out of school by providing basic resources such as food, clothing, school supplies and hygiene items-- all free of charge.
A Grace's Closet is now available in all nineteen schools in Oconee County, including Blue Ridge Elementary, Fair Oaks Elementary, Hamilton Career Center, James M Brown Elementary, Keowee Elementary, NEXT School Eagle Ridge, Northside Elementary, Oconee Academy, Orchard Park Elementary, Ravenel Elementary, Seneca High, Seneca Middle, Tamassee-Salem Elementary, Walhalla Elementary, Walhalla High, Walhalla Middle, West Oak Middle, West Oak High and Westminster Elementary.
We provide an inviting, boutique-like room full of stylish clothing geared toward students from Pre-K through 12th grade. Grace's Closet is open to all students to help eliminate the stigma of needed help. Personal hygiene items and school supplies are also available. Students are welcome to shop at Grace's Closet and take items that meet their needs. Everything is free!
In addition, food bags are provided at WMS, WHS, WOMS, WOHS, NEXT Eagle Ridge, SMS and SHS for one hundred plus students who wouldn't have enough food to sustain them through the weekend.
We strive to empower our youth to be able to evolve into self-sufficient members of their communities. Grace's Closet is already making a positive impact on Oconee County and we hope to keep growing with your help!
We invite you to join us on our mission to improve the lives of children who need a foundation for success!
What inspired us to do something more?
Julie-ann Shannon, our executive director of Grace's Closet, was having lunch one day with her daughter at school and her daughter invited a friend to sit with them. Her daughter's friend finished her lunch, but remarked that she was still hungry. Julie-ann noticed the little girl only had a sandwich and drink but thought maybe she just had the smaller lunch only for that particular day.. However, after inquiring, Julie-ann discovered this was the norm for the little girl.
Soon after this experience, Julie-ann became aware of more and more students who were eligible for the school’s breakfast and lunch program, but were not getting enough food for dinner and weekends. Julie-ann said it broke her heart that so many students were going hungry and she knew she was being called to help.
Her answer came when she saw a picture Joyce Powell had posted of a hygiene closet she had seen on Facebook. Julie-ann said that as soon as she saw it, she replied to Joyce what a great idea this was and that they should start one. The two of them approached Walhalla High School and started by supplementing weekend food bags.
It was soon realized that if students were in need of food, they were probably also in need of clothing, hygiene items and school supplies. We decided that creating welcoming, store-like rooms at each school would help provide an immediate solution to many student's need for basic resources. Our main goal was to furnish students with items of need to help build their self-confidence to be successful as they arrive at school each day. Grace’s Closet quickly grew with the support of the community. We started with 1 closet the first year, 4 closets the next year, 15 closets the third year and 19 closets by the fourth year. We are excited to say that now each Oconee County school has their own Grace’s Closet!
Where did the name "Grace's Closet" originate?
Grace's Closet is named in memory of Mrs. Grace Powell, a wonderful, kind and generous woman who never met a stranger and was always feeding people, not only with food but also with love.
Julie-ann Shannon (Director)
Julie-ann Shannon moved to Seneca, SC seven years ago from Maryland. She's a graduate from the College of Notre Dame where she majored in Childhood and Elementary Education. Upon graduation, Julie-ann spent 5 years teaching at a private school that focused on children with learning disabilities. Julie-ann's passion for helping children was the primary reason for creating Grace's Closet. When she's not directing Grace's Closet, Julie-ann enjoys spending time with her husband and three children.
Grace's Closet is driven and fueled by the donations, time and dedication of hundreds of people each year. We simply could not continue this amazing cause without their help. Please see our Volunteer page for information about how you might get involved for the kids!