United Way of Central Georgia, alongside Mike and Nancy Kaplan, is proud to bring Merrie’s Closet to its first school in Central Georgia, Elam Alexander. Merrie’s Closet will be a clothing source for students in need. It will include khakis, sweatshirts, t-shirts, socks, underwear, and child/adult diapers. Elam Alexander will serve as the pilot program for Merrie’s Closet with hopeful expansion across Central Georgia. The idea for the ‘closet’ came after the Kaplan family heard stories of local children missing valuable class time because they were not dressed in proper dress code or had soiled clothing. The United Way team will meet with the Kaplan family and Bibb County School District special guests at Elam Alexander at 2051 2nd St in Macon on Wednesday, April 7th at 10 am to unveil Merrie’s Closet.
Over the last year and a half, the Kaplans have worked side by side with United Way of Central Georgia to keep the memory of Mike and Nancy’s daughter, Merrie Kaplan, alive by providing gifts to families in need at Christmas. Since 2019, the Merrie Christmas Project has helped hundreds of unsuspecting families experience a Christmas like they never imagined. Now, Merrie’s memory will continue to spread joy to children by making sure they are always dressed for success in the classroom and never miss class time because they were unable to find clothing.
“Merrie was a product of the public school system here in Bibb County. Walking across the stage during Central High School's graduation to receive her certificate brought her nothing but pride and a sense of accomplishment. She had great teachers like Thelma Dillard who had a profound impact on Merrie's life. Because of that, we wanted to partner with the Board of Education and United Way of Central Georgia to start Merrie's Closet,” said Mike Kaplan. “There are children who come to school without the proper clothing - maybe their family is not in a position to provide it or something beyond their control happened during the school day. In speaking with several educators, we found the need for items like socks, underwear, t-shirts, sweatshirts, khakis, and diapers. Through Merrie's Closet, teachers and administrators will have access to these new items for their students.”
United Way of Central Georgia would like to give special thanks to the Truist Foundation for the initial $10,000 grant to start Merrie’s Closet. Anyone who would like to donate to Merrie’s Closet can visit: www.unitedwaycg.org/closet.