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A gift for the Giving Closet Project

The Giving Closet Project, which is a non-profit that gives clothes to underprivileged students in Jacksonville received a major gift that will help them support Jax

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — We are in the season of giving and one organization proves that generosity knows no bounds. The Giving Closet Project received an early Christmas gift that will help thousands of kids in Jacksonville for years to come.

For the last six years Jennifer Smith worked out of schools, coffee shops and even her car all to give students in Jacksonville a better life.

"I was a Duval County school teacher for 15 years," said Smith, "I worked inner city and saw first hand how my students were affected by homelessness, clothing or not having food or a roof over their head."

That's when The Giving Closet Project was born. Founded in 2016, it's an organization that gives underprivileged kids in Jacksonville free clothes for school. But it wasn't until recently that Smith and the Giving Closet Project were given a space in the Kids Hope Alliance building to call their own.

Still, she couldn't afford to remodel the space for her needs; that's when the Higher Purpose Foundation came calling.

"We look to partner with those who serve the underserved," said Higher Purpose Foundation Executive Director Jessica Smith, "that's why it makes our partnership with Jennifer and the Giving Closet Project perfect."

Through the company iMethods, the Higher Purpose Foundation is a faith-based non-profit that supports organizations that directly aid the underserved. And they went to work.

"We're getting ready to transform the giving closet's space downtown," said iMethods CEO Clint Drawdy in an Instagram video that was posted by Higher Purpose Foundation, "we're standing in their current warehouse, so between this space and Jennifer's office next door, check back in a few days, it's going to look totally different."

Over five days a team of workers transformed an empty space to a group of rooms, complete with an executive office that will enhance the Giving Closet Project's ability to serve the community.

"This wasn't just generosity, this was radical generosity," said GCP founder Jennifer Smith.

"When I saw Jennifer's face it was really touching because I know how hard she works and what she's dedicated her life to," said HPF's Jessica Smith.

"My jaw dropped, and I was blown away with the amount of passion and love to get this space the way it is today," said Jennifer Smith.

Instead of boxes in school closets, now there are organized racks of clothes of all sizes as well as hygiene kits for students in need.

"When it comes to bullying, most of the bullying takes place because of hygiene and physical appearance," said Jennifer Smith.

The Giving Closet Project serves kids from pre-k through 12th grade, but now there's also a career-wear section for students who need clothes for job interviews.

"A system that we've been working on fine-tuning for the last few years is finally starting to come into place, and it's beautiful to see at the Kids Hope Alliance," said Jennifer Smith.

But not everything was strictly for the kids. Members of the Higher Purpose Foundation signed a copy of the book The Giving Tree as a centerpiece to Jennifer Smith's new office.

"Honestly, it was the greatest moment since the inception of the Giving Closet Project," said Jennifer Smith, "when we talk about giving back to the community, this gift was something special that I'll cherish forever."

This coming Thursday The Giving Closet Project plans to launch five new locations across Jacksonville with plans to help even more children in the community.

If you would like to know more about The Giving Closet Project, visit their website.

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