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Forsyth Central makes sure students will be warm this winter with annual thrifting extravaganza
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Forsyth Central students look through racks of coats and sweaters, talking with friends and picking out their favorites to bring home with them and wear throughout the winter. - photo by Sabrina Kerns

Forsyth Central High School held its second annual two-day thrifting extravaganza this week in the school’s media center to give students and their families a chance to pick up a free coat ahead of the holidays.

“It’s wonderful to see the kids so excited for it,” said Karen Cole, event organizer and director of the school’s Wellness Center.

Just like last year, the Wellness Center and DECA students partnered to plan the event, setting up a room in the media center as a temporary thrift store with racks filled with coats and sweaters cozy enough to get students through the winter.

Cole said the thrift store setup allows students to feel comfortable shopping with their friends in the same way they would at a regular store. But in this case, they could take two adult and child-size coats — some for them and their families — completely for free.

For many students who need a coat simply to get through the winter, Cole said it can be a huge relief.

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Students stand in line, waiting to be let into the makeshift thrift shop set up in Forsyth Central’s media center. - photo by Sabrina Kerns

That help is given thanks to the entire Forsyth County and Forsyth Central community as everyone came together to help donate more than 1,300 coats and sweaters this year.

Teams and clubs at the school also competed through donations, with the club bringing the largest donation earning a pizza party for later in the school year. And any coats leftover after the event will be donated to The Place of Forsyth for others in need.

Coles said many volunteered to help plan the event and gather donations, and the United Way of Forsyth provided fliers with information on community resources to put in each students’ bag as they left with their thrifted items.

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A Forsyth Central student holds up a sweater as she browses through winter clothing donated to Forsyth Central. - photo by Sabrina Kerns

“Our parent volunteers are absolutely amazing,” Cole said. “I couldn’t pull this off without them.”

Many volunteers have already offered to also help with the school’s first dress for success thrifting extravaganza in February where students will be able to pick up donated business attire.

Cole said the event would allow students to find an outfit they could wear for graduation, mock interviews or any other special occasion where they might need it on or off campus.

“We have Dress For Success Day, but we haven’t allowed the kids to prepare in that way,” Cole said. “So I think this is really good because then we don’t have any kids who feel like they aren’t able to participate to the level that they would like.”

She and her team hope to bring even more thrifting opportunities for students to Forsyth Central.

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Community members donated more than 3,000 coats and sweaters to Forsyth Central High School for its second annual thrift store, ensuring students and their families can stay warm through this winter. - photo by Sabrina Kerns