The student news site of Antioch Community High School.

Sequoit Media

The student news site of Antioch Community High School.

Sequoit Media

The student news site of Antioch Community High School.

Sequoit Media

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New beginnings: Antioch Traveling Closet relocates

The Antioch Traveling Closet has grown exponentially over the years, so much so, that the program is moving to a new location.
Lisa+Fisher+with+local+volunteers+at+the+Antioch+Traveling+Closet.+
Lisa Fisher
Lisa Fisher with local volunteers at the Antioch Traveling Closet.

The Antioch Traveling Closet is a nonprofit organization that provides clothes, food, shoes, toiletries, and more to families in need throughout the Antioch community. Lisa Fisher started the ATC almost 10 years ago. Fisher’s two children have gone through Antioch’s schooling system and are especially involved at Antioch Community High School. Both of them participate in Sequoit Senate, the ACHS student council.

Fisher works as a paraprofessional, starting at W.C. Petty Elementary School in 2014 and eventually transitioning to Antioch Upper Grade School in 2021. Working around children every day, she has noticed firsthand how some students could benefit from the ATC program.

Prior to working in the district, Fisher’s friend, who worked at Grass Lake School, talked to her about a student who was “bragging” about staying up late at McDonald’s three nights in a row. The truth was that the students’ power was shut off at home, and they had no electricity.

“It struck me wrong because this student was just a year older than Jazzy [Fisher’s daughter],” Fisher said. “I started buying clothing a size bigger than Jazzy and on extended holidays and spring break, I would get food that she could open and drop it off for my friend to give the student so I knew she was eating something. This went on for about two years and I never met the child.”

After those two years, Fisher found out the child had moved. She was devastated and hoped the child was being taken care of. She thought if she could help that student, she could help many more. So she enlisted help from her “mom friends” who would donate clothes their children no longer needed or fit into. Originally, Fisher only collected children’s clothing.

“Sometimes, I would leave the house for a short time and when I returned my whole porch was filled with bags and boxes of clothing,” Fisher said. “It was like they were waiting around the corner for me to leave.”

In 2014, W.C. Petty Principal Joanna Gerritsen approached Fisher about the clothing collections and loved the idea. Gerritsen then continued to spread the word among her staff so more people could contribute. A few weeks later, the school reached out to Fisher about a child who came to school shirtless. Following that occurrence, Fisher dropped off a bag of clothes so the children could pick up whatever they wanted. After that, W.C. Petty hosted a giveaway outside and Fisher told her hairdresser about the giveaway, she loved the idea so much that she decided to donate free haircuts to kids in need.

The support for the ATC ideas grew over time, and someone asked Fisher if she wanted to collect adult clothing, especially if someone needed something professional for a job. Fisher accepted that idea, and the piles of clothing expanded, taking up the majority of her garage.

The Lake County Grading Company, the Lions Club and the Antioch Fire Department gave Fisher a check for a storage unit. From then on, the ATC grew larger and larger, growing out of the storage unit and into the Antioch Senior Center. With help from Antioch Trustee Jay Jozwiak, ATC was allowed to host three giveaways a year at the Antioch Senior Center. Piggly Wiggly allowed them to use their box truck to transport clothing from the storage unit to the senior center. Eventually, more of the community volunteered to help move donations, starting with Dave Moisa, who recruited his football players to volunteer. The giveaways were a major success.

One day, Fisher was working with a group of second graders when one of the girls started to tell the other students how she saw Fisher at her store. When Fisher said she did not work at the store the girl insisted, saying it’s the store with “no monies.”

“All the other kids are asking me a gazillion questions at the same time and the girl starts to tell the second graders that you wait in line, you get a bag and you go up and down the aisles and pick out anything you want for no money,” Fisher said. “I was stunned and speechless. No math was done that morning. A staff member was listening and started clapping and I started to cry because this little girl made me realize I do work at the store with no monies.”

With the ATC going on 10 years of operation, Fisher felt what better time to move locations. The program has outgrown the senior center and hopes to host even more giveaways. The ATC is solely funded by donations from the community and a few local businesses, as they are not government-funded. They are currently in the process of moving to the Depot Plaza by the train station in downtown Antioch.

In the past, the ATC provided field trip money, paid utilities for a student’s family, gave gas cards or gift cards, vouchers for the book fair, and much more. The ATC is continuing to grow and help any family in need.

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About the Contributor
Layla Kane, Tom Tom Staff
Layla Kane is a senior and this is her second year on staff. She enjoys Starbucks, sports and reading. She is also obsessed with Taylor Swift.
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