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Pop-Up Boutiques to Remove Barriers in Lehigh Valley Schools

It's essential that a student's basic needs are met to allow them to develop and thrive both in and outside of the classroom. Inaccessibility to clothing and hygiene products can damage a student's confidence and harm their overall health and well-being. CIS site professionals go above and beyond to identify organizations like local nonprofit Olive & Grace, so students and family populations throughout the Lehigh Valley can receive the help they need to focus on their growth and success.

This school year, Olive & Grace has hosted pop-up events at three CIS Eastern PA community schools Paxinosa Elementary, Hays Elementary, and Central Elementary. At their last event, the organization served nearly 60 families, providing clothing and hygiene products to over 270 individuals.

“I absolutely loved them when they came to Central,” said Megan Obleschuk,

community school coordinator at Central Elementary School. “Both Emily and her father are very personable and love what they do in working to remove barriers for students and families throughout the Lehigh Valley. Their first pop-up at Central Allentown “sold out” in the first hour, and we are excited to have them back for future events.”

Olive & Grace, an organization founded in 2021 by Bethlehem Area School District community service coordinator Emily Phifer, collects gently used and new clothing, shoes, and hygiene products for local students and families. Partnering with Lehigh Valley schools to identify areas of need within each school's populations, Olive & Grace hosts pop-up boutique events for clothing and hygiene-insecure families, providing a dignified, upscale, and fun shopping experience at no cost to them.

“The biggest thing I always like to express is just how much Communities In Schools make what we do possible. They really work to identify those in need, communicate with families about the event, and then are there as a liaison for the families that come through our pop-ups and for us,” said Emily Phifer. “Communities in Schools has really been our biggest support and backing, which is so important to have as a young nonprofit, to have people that believe in you and your mission and who want to see you succeed in helping others.”

With their incredible impact since launching Olive & Grace just over two years ago, Emily and her team plan to continue hosting pop-ups throughout the Lehigh Valley.

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