For many families this year, Halloween costumes will be yet another luxury to forgo. However, trick-or-treating will be made possible for many thanks to Neat Stuff, a Florida-based nonprofit that provides foster and needy children with new clothing. At least 200 kids will be able to dress up and masquerade thanks to a costume giveaway at the organization's store in Allapattah.
Created in 1995, Neat Stuff is the only agency of its kind in South Florida, with a mission to provide brand-new clothing and accessories to disadvantaged and abused children to give them a sense of pride and inspire their self-worth. The organization distributed $1.5 million worth of new clothes last year, with an average of 7,000 to 8,000 children "shopping" at Neat Stuff's store yearly.
What's so significant about the organization is that 95 percent of every dollar goes to services for children, with only 5 percent going towards administrative costs. Neat Stuff runs on 100 percent private funds, with a majority coming from grants.
Florida ranks fourth in the country with the percentage of children in foster care, with 23,000 kids in 2008. More than 4,500 children enter the foster care system in South Florida every year.
You can help by donating new clothes, shoes, toys and school supplies or by volunteering here. Monetary donations are also welcome.