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Sydney Weber and Nora Noonan, founders of the Cougar Clothing Drive and members of the Student Council, stand with the Cascade High School's clothing drop-off.

Between March 22-25, members of the Cascade High School Student Council held a clothing collection event called the Cougar Clothing Drive to collect unwanted school clothing and give it to people who can use it. Nora Noonan, student council president, explained how she came up with the idea.

“One day, I was cleaning out my room randomly and I texted our student council adviser Hailey Rausch to ask if I could donate my old Cascade Cougar clothes to our food donation program called the Cougar Closet. I was spring cleaning and didn’t really have anything to do with the clothes anymore. She suggested asking the office, but we also had to come up with a state project, so we decided we would start this clothing drive so kids in the community who don’t have Cougar clothes can get them. Most of us buy every single t-shirt when a t-shirt order comes out, and it’s nice to get them off your hands and also help people while doing it.”

Sydney Weber, senior class president, said she, Noonan and Rausch teamed up to turn this idea into a program.

“We had a meeting with Mrs. Rausch and came up with our game plan to email the principals of all the schools and ask if they’d help us spread the word to participate, and from there we were able to start.”

Donation bins were placed in the high school, Cascade Elementary, Aquin Elementary, and City Hall for people to donate any sort of Cougar gear they wished to dispose of in any size.

“We just asked for Cougar gear in general,” said Noonan, “so we’re hoping we’ll have a collection of adults, kids, toddlers, all the range so we can have a good variety when people sign up for receiving these donations.”

While Noonan and Weber headed up this state project, all members of the student council took part by helping to spread awareness. According to Weber, a state project is something the student council does every year that is Iowa-wide and, while not mandatory, everyone is encouraged to complete it. This year, the theme was sustainability.

Noonan explained the link between the theme of the state project and the Cougar Clothing Drive.

“Our thought process was that it demonstrates sustainability when people do this versus throwing out their clothes or using it once and just chucking it. State basketball t-shirts for example, you buy it, you wear it once and then you’re done with it and probably not going to wear it again. You throw it on the bottom of your clothing pile and it’s just gone. We’re hoping instead of people chucking them, we’ll put them to a good family that can use it.”

Rausch also chimed in on the topic of sustainability for the community.

“When we talk about sustainability, the first thing that came to my mind was ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’, and there’s no doubt in Cascade we’re a proud t-shirt community, but not everyone always has the opportunity to buy a t-shirt. Nora mentioned she had a lot of Cougar gear she was ready to let go, and that sparked the idea to have a clothing drive for strictly Cougar clothes so we can recycle it in our own community rather than print a whole bunch of new shirts.”

Rausch added that Cascade Customs has agreed to donate products out of their shop toward the cause to help fulfill the sizes the high school is in greater need of so they can give more to the elementary school kids in those smaller sizes in the event those aren’t provided by the high school kids. All donated clothing will be washed before being distributed

Noonan wished to thank everyone who has participated in the clothing drive, with over 100 items collected ranging from toddler to XXL sizes.

“We would like to thank all the families who’ve donated and we hope this brings the community together so everyone feels included and that by wearing Cougar clothes, it makes you feel part of the Cascade community.”

If you would like to receive donated clothing from the Cougar Clothing Drive, fill out the online form available at