Camie Lozier, a member of the Ledyard community and the founder of the Ledyard Gales Ferry Clothing Exchange, has been working on this organization for over a year now. For the last four years, Lozier has been working at Gallup Hill School, where she first noticed something that made her uncomfortable. Last year, she was put on recess duty and noticed a number of students without appropriate clothing (jackets, gloves, non-tattered clothing) for the winter months. Lozier has done foster care for the past seven years and had plenty of extra items she would periodically bring in. As the idea became bigger, she put out a message on her personal Facebook account asking for help from other members of the community. The response was tremendous and many agreed to help. Within five months, a donation shed had been instituted for all clothing collected. As for the mission of her project, Lozier says, “I am a firm believer that every child who feels confident in what they’re wearing and in who they are will do much better academically and socially.” Because of this, she has extended her operation to anyone willing to make the drive to Ledyard.
The name, “Ledyard Gales Ferry Clothing Exchange” was derived from the abundance of donations in exchange for articles of clothing. Lozier says, “My goal and vision is to be able to reach not just our community but hopefully someday all of the surrounding communities as well. I would love to see each community have their own exchange.” The project benefits anybody and everybody and is proof that a simple act of kindness can go a long way. Lozier is extremely grateful for the generosity of people in the community with their donations and their evident desire to be a part of something so inspiring. When asked what the most rewarding part of its entirety, Lozier says, “The thing that has totally blessed me is being in the school and having the kids come up to me smiling and say to me, ‘Miss Lozier, we got this at your store.'” She explains there is truly nothing better than seeing people, especially young people, happy with something that makes them feel good about themselves.
Though the project has had much success, there were some obstacles along the way. Essentially, it is a non-profit organization and managing the cost to support the project can be difficult. Lozier tells The Colonel that it is a challenge asking people for money donations but when she considers who she is helping, the answer is obvious- she simply cannot turn away from those in need and bravely asks people for their generosity. She has been very blessed with numerous volunteers and is confident that as the project expands, more and more people will step up to fill the very important roles. Lozier, realizing the impact her organization has made already, aims high for the future. She says, “I would have to say that my hope for the future would be to expand into surrounding towns, eventually surrounding cities, and then into surrounding states and why not dream big? This could spread across the whole country. I think it could become as well known as Goodwill.” However, the first step toward achieving these goals is to share about the wonders of this organization and to show our support for the incredible Camie Lozier for developing such a rewarding, good-natured project. She will continue to be an inspiration for all.
Samantha Barnes, Staff Writer
Junior Samantha Barnes is a staff writer for the 2014-2015 Colonel. She competes all over New England with her three horses and plays basketball at school.