OXFORD — The Pink Feather Foundation has taken the idea of a clothing drive for underprivileged youth in need to a new level – providing online shopping for free clothes for students in SAD 17 in Paris and RSU 16 in Poland.

On a recent Sunday afternoon, seven volunteers, including President and co-founder Joni Gordon, her 12-year-old daughter Mallory Gordon, and treasurer and co-founder Jen Kyllonen, worked at the nonprofit’s headquarters in the Oxford Plaza.

The freshly painted space – work and supplies were donated by Peter Ford – is buzzing with activity. Mallory and 14-year-old Molly Littlefield of Oxford took turns tagging, hanging and photographing clothing.

Justin Corrente of Oxford, who has volunteered with the Pink Feather Foundation since the beginning in 2011, ironed clothes while others went through the bags upon bags on donations and sorted them. The high clothing racks were donated and installed by Dean & Allyn Inc.

The newest service of the Pink Feather Foundation was launched in January after Gordon, who works at Oxford Elementary School, and Kyllonen realized the need for clothing for students. Students are allowed up to a week’s worth of clothing, which is packaged with tissue paper and a paper suitcase.

“Everything is strictly through a staff member at the school,” Gordon said. “(The students) can take it home on the bus with them.”


“It is kind of a twofold,” Kyllonen said. “If a teacher sees a student in need, they can log on (and) they can use it as a bonding experience with the child to have that excitement of picking out their own clothes … having that pride … the confidence piece.”

Speaking from experience, Gordon added, “The majority of kids, they don’t normally get the chance to pick out their own clothing. They don’t have control of what comes their way and what they get to wear. They get to go shopping.”

Kyllonen was able to secure a donation of 1,500 paper suitcases from International Paper.

“It was important for us for the kids to feel like they’re not giving a Walmart bag of hand-me-downs,” she said. “We want the kids to feel like they’re getting new clothes.”

That’s why they ask for gently used clothing.

When foundation volunteers began collecting clothes, Gordon stored them at her house. Some of it had to be moved to Kyllonen’s garage and next thing they knew they were in excess of 3,000 pieces of clothing. They needed a new space and Oxford Plains Speedway was able to provide that at 1570 Main St., Suite 2, in Oxford.


The reason the two women started the Pink Feather Foundation was to teach their children – they each have two – an important lesson in volunteering and giving back to the community.

“We have kids and want our kids to bring back the fundraising days and help people and know what that feels like,” Gordon said.

“They were excited to help, she said. “We had a group of boys do the shoes. I will never forget it, they were having so much fun lining the shoes up and angling the shot. … It is fun to watch our kids get excited about it, we definitely let them feel like this is theirs, too.”

“When we started this, my kids were 3 and 5,” Kyllonen said. “It was learning how to give back to your community and the importance of learning if you see something that’s not right or needs to be changed, you can do it.”

And it’s working thus far.

“I think it’s a great way to give back to the community and help people in need,” Mallory Gordon said as she tagged a pair of small gray pants. “The experience here is we can come and help out.”

The majority of the Pink Feather Foundation’s volunteers are youth looking to get community service hours. The Foundation has agreements with 15 schools between the two school districts, which encompasses 11 towns.

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