Coast Hills

Children's Resource Network empowering local kids through clothes

by Joshua D. Scroggin
February 22, 2017

Growing up with a mom in social work, Richie Spitzer knew just how far $1,000 can go to help those less fortunate. And caring for a son of his own inspired him toward helping needy kids in his community if given the chance.

Richie got just that opportunity as an employee of CoastHills Credit Union.

A participant in CoastHills’ employee giving program “I’m All In,” he was one of five Credit Union employees to decide which local charities would receive sponsorships of $1,000 apiece when staff got together at their most recent quarterly meeting.  

Richie’s selection: The Children’s Resource Network (CRN) of the Central Coast.

The organization got started when founder Lisa Ray posted a plea for help outfitting a needy local family with school clothes on social media. The response was so overwhelming, Lisa said, it was essentially a no-brainer for her to turn the cause into a registered nonprofit in 2009.  

IMG_2813-01Since then, the organization has grown exponentially, opening Teen and Children’s Closet facilities in San Luis Obispo, Arroyo Grande, Santa Maria and Lompoc. It provides children and at-risk youth in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties with free clothing, blankets, books, backpacks, school supplies, diapers, toiletries and more.

They’ve received certificates of recognition from congress, the state senate and assembly, mayors offices from around the coast and other community organizations. They even received clothing donations from Central Coast native and film star Zac Efron.

The Teen’s Closet in Lompoc recently celebrated its first anniversary after opening on the corner of J Street and Laurel just over a year ago. Open Saturdays from 1 to 3 p.m., the Lompoc Teen’s Closet connects more than 100 kids each week with clothes, school supplies and hygiene items. The Lompoc location even hosts the Dress For Success program, which offers work-appropriate clothing options to parents or young people entering the workforce.

IMG_2821-01A collection of brightly colored letters from Cal Poly students who’ve been helped by CRN giving thanks and offering encouragement decorate the wall. The authors came from similar backgrounds as the teens being served by the Teen’s Closet, and it means a lot to the kids to know that people just like them have gone on to succeed, Lisa said.

That’s exactly what Richie was hoping to hear after he heard his name called. I’m All In is funded completely through voluntary payroll deductions. CoastHills employees can give as little or as much as they’d like to participate, and taking part enters them into a quarterly name drawing to help decide how the money is spent.

More than 90 percent of Credit Union employees are enrolled in the program, which raised $16,000 in community sponsorships in 2016 and is on pace to give $20,0000 this year.

Richie’s donation to CRN will go to help fund a much-needed oversized clothing collection cart, Lisa said. The Teen’s Closet, Travelling Children’s Closet, Sorting Facility and other programs of CRN wouldn’t be the successes they are without the dedicated volunteers who help keep them running, but if you’re interested in getting involved, clothing donations are the easiest way to get started.

The organization accepts clothing items for children of all ages, from babies to teens, at any of their drop-off locations. Some of the most successful clothing drives have been initiated and run by kids at their own schools. For more information, visit or call (805) 202-8151.

“The biggest need is for donations.” Lisa said, mentioning the important role that clothing plays in helping kids develop their identity, self-confidence, and self-esteem. Kids who have no choice but to go to school in clothes that are dirty, don’t fit, or are not appropriate for their age group are targets for bullying.


Welcome to our Blog!

We provide the tools to build a smart financial future.

Why pay fees? Click here to learn more about Freedom Plus Checking.


Follow Us