April 25, 2017
 
Catie’s Closet Gala Raises $150K to Support Service Expansion

March 21, 2017 — Catie’s Closet, a nonprofit based in Dracut that provides an in-school resource of clothing and basic necessities to students living below the poverty line, this week announced it raised $150,000 at its annual gala.

Funds will help expand services to more schools in the Merrimack Valley and Boston.

Catie’s Closet aimed to raise $150,000 from 350 attendees, and succeeded in attracting 380 people.

Executive Director and Co-Founder Mickey Cockrell attributed the event's success to the observation that "The mission of Catie's Closet resonated with our guests. Success in school is tied to emotional well-being and everyone was excited to help children right here in their community."

The event, held March 11 at the Boston Marriott in Burlington, raised about 25% of the organization's fundraising total through sponsorships, tickets, silent and live auctions, program ads, and cash donations. The live auction raised nearly $20,000 through the purchase of personalized Rob Gronkowski memorabilia, Bruno Mars concert tickets and Costa Rican vacations.

“It was a remarkable evening,” said Cockrell. “It’s hard to believe that in just a few short years we have been able to make a difference for so many children. The astonishing support of our sponsors, guests and schools we serve allows us to meet the needs in the community. I am so grateful that together we can carry on Catie’s memory with such pride.”

Sponsors included Jeanne D'Arc Credit Union, Charles River Apparel, Dana Wallboard Supply, Inc., Ellen Andre, The Leeward Charitable Foundation, Tonneson & Co., Eastern Bank, Bursaw Gas & Oil, Northpoint Construction Management, All Sports Heroes, Nixon Peabody, and Mill City Environmental.

The seven co-founders of Catie’s Closet, led by Anne-Marie Bisson, guided guests through the history of the organization, and a student related how clothes supplied by the organization improved her self-esteem.

Founded in 2010, Catie’s Closet today provides clothes and toiletries to 25,000 students in 37 schools, from pre-kindergarten through high school, and operates in Billerica, Dracut, Lawrence, Lowell, Tyngsboro, and Dorchester, as well as Hudson and Nashua, N.H.

According to the organization, lack of access to basic necessities is one of the top reasons for absenteeism, and that "Schools equipped with a Catie’s Closet give students living in poverty the ability to discreetly pick and choose the clothing and basic necessities they need, and are proud to wear," which motivates them to attend school and focus on their studies.

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