ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The Christian Service Center of Abilene began its “Operation: Blue Jeans” drive Tuesday, providing new clothing and shoes for kids going back to school this Fall.

Running through early September, the Christian Service Center is buying and providing new back-to-school clothing and new shoes for children registered in Abilene schools.

Executive Director Jim Clark said for young children, there is nothing like the confidence boost a new pair of shoes or outfit can bring a child on their first day of school. He told KTAB/KRBC he can remember his new outfits when he was a young student, and said it was the first thing his friends noticed when they walked into the classroom.

“It’s a great way to help them start school. They feel positive about new school clothes and new shoes,” Clark said, “But, it also helps take a burden off of parents because, of course, now with inflation – parents are feeling more pressure about food prices going up and other prices, and so it helps them financially.”

Clark said elementary school students receive two pairs of jeans and five pairs of socks and underwear. Middle schoolers will receive all of those, as well as two polo shirts. Each student also receives one new pair of shoes, as well as an age-appropriate Holy Bible.

Clark said financially, it can be tough to provide that many clothes for so many kids. But with the help of financial partners and donors, such as the Kiwanis Club of Abilene, they help make it a possibility- and into reality for so many students and families.

On top of buying new clothing, Clark said it allows the center’s volunteers to help rearrange their storage area and help give away the newest outfits. For many of its volunteers, he said they have a special connection with the kids, as many were former teachers themselves and saw firsthand how new outfits can impact a child’s school morale.

“They’re still connected with the kids and it gives them a lot of joy,” Clark said. “Jesus says it’s more blessed to give than to receive, and we experience joy doing this.”

Clark said if parents are interested in getting their children a new outfit or shoes for this upcoming school year, to make an appointment with the Christian Service Center. The center is located at 3185 North 10th Street in Abilene, and is open Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to noon and 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., as well as the first Saturday morning of each month. Its next Saturday morning opening will be July 9.

Parents and guardians must call to make an appointment. You can reach the Christian Service Center by calling (325) 673-7531.

Also in the Christian Service Center’s spirit of “paying it forward,” Clark said the center asks parents to donate one can of food for each child receiving new school clothes.