The Sharing Shelf Announces the Opening of Its Teen Boutique

The Sharing Shelf announces the opening of its Teen Boutique, which now provides free clothes to Westchester teenagers in financial need. The Teen Boutique operates as a free store specifically tailored for teens, situated on-site adjacent to The Sharing Shelf’s Clothing Bank in Port Chester.

The Teen Boutique enables low-income teens, referred by schools and nonprofit organizations, to select their own clothing at no cost in a private and dignified setting that has the look and feel of a real boutique. Creation of the Teen Boutique, which is located at 47 Purdy Avenue, was made possible by a transformational grant from Impact100 Westchester.

Clothing insecurity, or the lack of sufficient properly sized and seasonally appropriate clothing for teens and children in need, is a major challenge in Westchester. The Sharing Shelf received in 2023 more than 5,500 applications for clothing for teens and children from more than 100 social-service agencies, schools, and other nonprofits. Demand has grown 300% in three years.  

Children who are clothing insecure are more likely to be bullied by their peers and miss school, so they fall back academically. In high school years, they are more likely to drop out with lifelong social, emotional, health, and economic impacts. Yet studies show that school attendance and academic performance improve in children and teens provided with clean clothing. Appropriate clothing bolsters a child’s or teen’s self-esteem and motivation.

While Westchester is among the nation’s wealthiest counties, its poverty rate for children under five grew from 9.5% to 11.7% from 2021 to 2022, according to Westchester Children’s Association, and over 67,000 children and teens live in poverty or a low-income home.

“The Sharing Shelf’s Teen Boutique is an innovative and vital development in the effort to address clothing insecurity in Westchester,” said Deborah Blatt, Founder and Executive Director of The Sharing Shelf. “Clothing insecurity needs to be tackled in conjunction with the better-recognized food insecurity and housing insecurity. We are very grateful to Impact100 Westchester for making this exciting initiative possible.”