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Rockwood School District
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Rockwood Student Impacts Her Community through P's Traveling Closet

​​​​​​Payton Brown and her mother, Mary Beth, are a force to be reckoned with. 

They look like they could be sisters, sitting on a bench inside Lafayette High, where Payton is a junior. 

What they are is a two-person charitable movement. 

During Payton's freshman year, she started P's Traveling Closet, a clothes collection effort that distributes slightly-used clothing to Rockwood residents in need.  Now, as winter sets in three years later, they find they have a surplus of winter clothes available for people who need them. 

The "closet" is located in Payton's parents' basement. 

"We pick clothes out of several storage bins we have and drop them off at schools, according to what social workers tell us people need," said Payton. 

"We have probably ten bins of clothes," added Mary Beth.  "They are separated according to season, gender and size." 

They have many stories about people they have helped – like one high school girl they became aware of who needed two dresses for a special occasion. 

"We didn't normally carry formal dresses," said Mary Beth.  "But this was such an honor – we wanted to be able to help." 

So they released the need into their network of helpers. 

"We got so many dresses," said Mary Beth.  "Many had tags on them because they were new!" 

"I asked my escadrille team members for donations," said Payton.  If we each donated five dollars the girl would have enough to buy two dresses, or jewelry or shoes. In the end with all the donations we got 15 dresses for our inventory. Plus, we were able to give the girl some money so she could figure out what she wanted and pick it out." 

"I hope people can open up and see how good it feels to help others out," she added.  "It opened my eyes to learn I go to a school where some people are in need.  It feels good to help out." 

Mary Beth says families in need or people with clothes to donate should reach out to the social workers in Rockwood schools.  They are aware of P's Traveling Closet. 

"Then we will see what they need and help as best as we can," said Mary Beth.  "It's very anonymous.  I deliver the bag of clothes to the social workers and they pass it on." 

​"I am very proud of Payton," said Lafayette Principal Dr. Karen Calcaterra.  "Her passion for service and her heart for helping others is simply amazing.  Payton is thoughtful and committed to helping students and their families in our Rockwood community."