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Bulldog Outfitters helps Butte children look their best for school

Volunteers at Bulldog Outfitters in Butte
Posted at 6:22 PM, Sep 04, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-05 13:21:15-04

BUTTE — If you look good, you feel good. And if you feel good, you're going to want to go to school—that's the idea behind a clothing boutique in the Butte Plaza Mall that offers free clothing to any Butte School District child who needs it.

"Bulldog Outfitters is a store to help our students that could use a little apparel," says Jim O’Neill, the curriculum director for Butte School District No.1.

O'Neill says that Butte has one of the highest rates of childhood poverty within the seven larger counties in Montana and that is the reason why he and his volunteers offer this service.

"So we felt that this is something that is a need in our community, and I guess the evidence of that is we, our ladies, had 40 customers two days ago in here shopping for school," says O'Neill.

The boutique has clothing for all ages from kindergarten through 12th grade with everything from jeans and dresses to brand new Oakley apparel and even hygiene products like deodorant, shampoo, and toothpaste—and the store is staffed by a group of retired Butte teachers and administrators.

"It’s always fun to be with kids, I think. That’s one of my main reasons why I am here, just to see how happy they are once they get their bag to take out the door with them," says Marybeth Wall, a retired Butte School District secretary.

To shop at the store, older students can show their student IDs while elementary students just have to be accompanied by an adult.

"Our motto is if you look good, you feel good and when you feel good, you are more likely to want to go to school," says O'Neill.

As volunteers head to the back to gather clothing to set out on the sales floor, a woman comes in with several large bags of clothing to donate.

"Sizes eight and 12 boys clothing, so we need this," says Georgia Heaphy, a retired music teacher.

Bulldog Outfitters is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and accepts donations of new and gently used clothing items that are clean.