Now through January, local banks are participating in a "Cram the Closet" drive to fill up the Community Closet, managed by the Pettis County Community Partnership.

"Cram the Closet is a United Way and Community Partnership initiative to cram the Community Closet full of hygiene items, toiletries and things that people sometimes do without because they don't have the money. We're collecting good to fill that closet," Said Casey Schmidt with Simmons Bank.

Local banks that are participating in the drive are: Simmons Bank, The Missouri Bank II, US Bank, Equity Bank and Central Bank of Sedalia.

"I encourage all of the costumers with the Missouri Bank II to come in and donate. Hopefully we can give back to the community," said Angela Sumner with Missouri Bank II.

All types of items are being collected, including soap, deodorant, toothpaste and household cleaning products. The Community Closet is also in need of diapers, according to Staci Harrison with Sedalia-Pettis County United Way, especially sizes 5 and 6.

Several donations have already started to come in at the banks, which recently launched their Cram the Closet efforts. Schmidt said that the State Fair Community College dental hygiene students came through the bank with a large donation of toothpaste for the Community Closet. "We're open to everyone that just wants to drop in. Now matter how little or how big, we're excited to get it."

"For folks to be able to access the Closet, they have to be referred by a service provider," said Harrison. "Katy Trail Community Health, Pettis County Health Department, a school." Applicants must be at 50% or below the poverty guidelines, although there are extenuating circumstances that the Closet has been able to help with. "They have to be really looking for a job, have a job, going to school, have a disability, or a combination of the above. The Community Closet and the products within this closet are intended to be a hand up and not a hand out, and people need to be able to demonstrate that they are doing everything they can to take that next step in their life. We just want to be able to help remove that stumbling block for them."

Cram the Closet will take place at the local Sedalia Banks through the third week in January.

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