Ollie’s Closet

Helping students at Carter and
MacRae Elementary School

2020 – 2021 School Supply Drive

The Saint James Mission & Justice Committee has been in touch with the staff at Carter and MacRae Elementary School, and our help and support is needed now more than ever!

In addition to school supplies, items related to the pandemic are also needed including masks, hand sanitizer and wipes. Canned food and individually-packaged snacks have also been requested to help close the food insecurity gap, and teachers have asked for our notes of encouragement for the goody bags received by their students.

Click here to give a monetary gift to Ollie’s Closet.

Download your Ollie’s Closet shopping list here!

COVID-19 Items Needed

Children’s mask (reusable or paper)

Clorox wipes

Hand sanitizer

Canned goods and individually packed snack items

Breakfast Bars (anything that could be eaten as a breakfast snack)

Granola bars (peanut free is best!)

Juice boxes

Bottled water (small containers)

Small containers (individual size) of cereal or oatmeal

Fruit snacks

Fruit cups

Goldfish snacks (whales, owls etc.)


Pop tarts

Animal cookies/crackers

Graham crackers

Cheese Its



Chex mix


School Supplies*

Crayons/markers/colored pencils


Pencil sharpeners





Uniforms** (sizes 5 /6 – 14 /16)

NOTE: boys/girls navy or khaki slacks/skirts/jumpers; PLAIN polo shirts (no logos) navy, light blue, white

Underwear (small sizes 5 /6- 7/8) boys/girls



Bar soap/body wash

Toothbrush & toothpaste



Laundry detergent

*Needed for when children return to school

**Uniforms, which may also be available online, can be purchased at Target, Gabe’s, Burlington Coat Factory, JC Penny’s & Kohls.

“I wanted to reach out and send a special thank you to you and your congregation who provided our school with so many donations this year. With part of the money that you donated to us we were able to get 20 students winter coats, over 30 shoes in various sizes, as well as more uniforms for our students and we still have some left over to be able to provide more resources to families when a need arises.

The work that you and your church as done for our school is amazing and we truly appreciate everything you have done over the years for us.Amanda Fontaine LSW, MSW Student and Family Resource Specialist

Drop off your items at the Parish House using the kitchen entrance off of Cherry Street.

Volunteers wearing masks will be available to take your donations on the following dates & times:

  • Tuesday, Sept. 8 from 9 – 11 AM
  • Thursday, Sept. 10 from 4 – 6 PM
  • Sunday, Sept. 13 from 2 – 4 PM

Parishioners John and Ann Yawornitsky writing notes of encouragement for students and teachers at Carter and MacRae Elementary School

Notes of Encouragement

Great job! You did it! Way to go!

The teachers at Carter and MacRae would love to include our notes of encouragement in the goody bags they’ll be sending home to their students. Everybody loves an encouraging word when they accomplish even the smallest of tasks or learn something new. So grab your crayons, colored markers, index cards and stickers and get your praise game going for the students! You are terrific!!!

About Ollie’s Closet

Ollie’s Closet is named after Ollie Jones, a former principal at Carter and MacRae Elementary. In her tenure, she developed a reputation for having an endless supply of school supplies in her office closet. If a student needed a uniform, backpack, notebook, crayons, or pencils, Principal Ollie had them in her closet. Word soon began to spread as more and more students sought help from Ollie’s closet.

Ollies ClosetIn 2011, Saint James held its first Ollie’s Closet campaign, and since then, thousands of school supplies, ranging from uniforms to protractors, have been stashed in Ollie’s Closet ready to be given or lent to students in need. Donated items now range from school uniforms to body wash, tooth brushes, and hand sanitizer. New for the 2017-2018 school year are notes of encouragement created for teachers to give to their students for encouragement and support.

The Ollies’s Closet campaign begins in August and concludes on the first weekend in September. Anyone wanting to help is encouraged to stop by the display in the Narthex and take a card from an envelope. It tells you what to buy, and on the back, it tells you where it can be purchased. Items can brought to church prior to a service, or they can be dropped off at the church office during the week. Financial donations are also accepted.

About Carter and MacRae Elementary School

Located on South Prince Street across from the Water Street Mission, Carter and MacRae has over 550 students in grades K4 through 5th grade. The homeless rate is 10%—the highest homeless population of the School District of Lancaster’s 12 elementary schools—and 91% of the school’s families live below the federal poverty rate. The assistance provided by our volunteers helps to shore up support that often cannot be provided at home due to language deficiencies, second-shift jobs, and/or incarceration.

Volunteers are needed at the closet door for the upcoming supply drive!

Volunteers are needed at the closet door in the narthex to help during collection weekends for the Saturday 5 PM Mass, Sunday 8:30 AM Mass and the 10:30 Mass. The drive begins August 3 & 4, and continues through August 24 & 25. If you’d like to help, click here.

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