Joseph Morabito, Wildomar
When Elsinore High Schooler Nate Belliveau was a student at David A. Brown Middle School he had the idea of opening a store, so to speak, where students of modest means would be able to get gently used clothing.
Though it didn’t materialize until he was in high school, Marisa Couron and Abraham Esquer made his aspirations a reality and called it Nate’s Pantry in his honor.
Nate’s first taste of extracurricular input came last year when he wanted to have a game room available on campus. He started by circulating a petition among the students and teachers. Easy enough, but when he heard that the superintendent was coming to the school, he brought the petition to him and he not only signed it, but the school had a game room two days later.
The idea for Nate’s Pantry came about toward the end of last school year when he was speaking with Couron, his teacher, and he had another petition for her to sign. She asked for some more details and he explained that he’d like to see a store at the school, where kids that don’t have much money, could come shopping for free for things like clothes and school supplies.
Marisa told him that it was too bad he was going off to high school or they could take on the project together. But even without Nate being there, the idea still took root. The first round of donations came after putting the word out at some of the local Wildomar Facebook pages.
The store is open after school, Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. They generally have more than 30 students come in each of those days. For those that ride the bus, they can come in on Wednesdays during lunch.
The shop also has what they call Super Saturdays on the first Saturday of the month. The October event had more 100 kids stop by. The next one will be from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Nov. 2.
At this point in time, Nate’s Pantry is only offered to the students of David A. Brown Middle School.
“Our school, one Saturday a month, we get a whole bunch of teachers together and we have fun activities for the kids, with handcrafts, tie-dyed shirts, making pancakes and having hot dogs,” Esquer said.
If you have gently used clothes or shoes that aren’t outdated, please reach out to Couron at marisa.couron@LEUSD.k12.ca.usa or by using the Nate’s Pantry Facebook Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/516317755813972/.
Couron is a teacher in the Special Needs Class Mild/Moderate and Esquer is a Paraeducator and coach, they’ve been working together for the last three years.
Joseph Morabito is a city councilmember for the city of Wildomar representing District 3 and has maintained a community-focused blog called Wildomar Rap for the last several years. Read more at wildomarrap.blogspot.com.