Since 1999, the Caring Closet’s mission has been to increase the confidence and retention rate of our lowest income students by providing free, clean, appropriate, and adequately fitting clothing and shoes. This increased confidence can lead to academic and social success in school.
Founder, Marilyn Hassmann, has made it her life’s mission to break down barriers that keep economically disadvantaged children from attending and succeeding in school.
Marilyn went to work for the Tigard-Tualatin School District in 1995, first as a school secretary and library assistant, and ultimately as a student advocate for at-risk freshmen at Tigard HS. As a student advocate, Marilyn realized that it is hard for children to succeed when their clothes and shoes don’t fit or when they have none at all. She and a colleague started the Caring Closet with the compassionate mission not only to provide school clothes, but to help students feel proud and confident at school knowing they fit in with their peers. Marilyn has built a sustainable organization that is run by over 50 volunteers and serves nearly 1600 children annually.
In 2014, Marilyn retired and handed over the reigns to a new Director, Rose Money, who strongly believes in the mission Marilyn started and seeks to continue serving others in a warm, non-judgmental environment while promoting dignity and compassion. Rose has a huge heart for kids and has worked with several non-profit organizations in the Portland area.
In January of 2019, Rose moved on to Family Promise of Tualatin Valley as their Executive Director. Kim Thoren took over as interim in January, and then in April 2019 was hired on as the new Director. Kim had been a volunteer and family helper at the Caring Closet for the last 4 years, and she was thrilled to step in to carry on the mission of the Caring Closet.