TORRINGTON – Tara Nicolay had an idea a year ago to put together the Football 101 clothes drive just ahead of the beginning of school.
Time ran out last year before anything could be done, but Nicolay, along with the rest of the Football 101 organization made it happen in 2020.
From 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. people converged on Lincoln Elementary School for what Nicolay called a “new and new to you” back to school clothes.
“There are so many kids that have nothing – food or clothes – no new backpacks, and all these other kids are coming in with everything,” she said. “I was like I really wanted to do this.”
The response from the community was overwhelming.
They were able to fill the lobby of Lincoln with all kinds of clothes ranging from Torrington, Southeast, and Lingle schools to the University of Wyoming. It took the group three days leading up to the event to sort and separating clothes by gender and size.
“Our community has been amazing. In a week and a half, we collected an entire lobby’s worth of clothes,” Nicolay said. “We never expected to get the amount of stuff we got.”
Football 101 also received donations of hats and jerseys from the Torrington Little League, along with several other area businesses.
The Football 101 was a group started a handful of years ago as a way to raise money for the Blazer football team, but they also had a goal to make an impact on the community.
Football 101, comprised of Nicolay, Nyana Sims, Stephanie Workman, Melony Wolfe and Kendra Stienmetz, also bought socks, pants and other necessities.
All the collected donations were given away free of charge.
“It’s been neat to see a lot of kids here that don’t have Blazer or UW gear. The kids were so excited,” Stienmetz said. “One lady choked up because this meant so much to her family. That right there made this worth it.
“To live in a community that like, in tough times, overwhelmingly supports people who have it harder, is worth it,” Stienmetz said.