Boutique discreetly helping needy students

By Rick Elmhorst, Spectrum Bay News Anchor/Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, December 15, 2017, 7:15 AM EST

Bartow Middle School teacher Samantha Swafford has set up a discreet boutique where needy students can get donated clothes and personal care items for free in privacy. 

  • Boutique discreetly helping needing students
  • Bartow Middle School teacher Samantha Swafford has set up boutique
  • Allows students to get clothes, personal care items 

Staff at the school will refer students to the small room that that is set up to look like a small store. “To make the kids feel like they were shopping,” said Swafford. “Not just getting something second hand. That it was a real shopping experience maybe some of them hadn’t had before.”

Swafford came up with the idea for the boutique last spring after coming to Bartow Middle from Highland City Elementary.  She said there were many needy students at the school. Some come from local shelters. 

Principal Chris Roberts said he has known Swafford many years and she has always shied away from recognition for the things she has done for students. “She’s always had that passion and she doesn’t like to be in the spotlight,” he said. 

Swafford said the boutique has helped about 35 students so far this year. "I get a little emotional about what the staff does here all the time for the kids,” she said. "So I kind of feel guilty because this is my way. But the staff does things here every day that are similar to this. But it is hard to take a picture of that.”

If you would like to donate shoes, clothes or person care items to the school their number is 863-534-7415.