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Show Time For Secret Closet

Homegrown Nonprofit Goes From Home Closet to New Permanent Location in SECOR Cares Facility

Dresses in every style, size, and color. Sparkly high heels and elegant black flats. Displays dripping with jewelry and make-up aplenty. Tuxedos, dress shoes, graduation gowns, ties- and, if you’re a student, none of this you have to buy.

The secret is out. The Parker Secret Closet, a nonprofit that gives free party clothes and accessories to enrolled students, recently renovated in order to better serve the Parker community — just in time for prom season.

The PSC began with a Facebook post. The founder, Kiva Frey, started the page Free in Parker so the community could find and reuse items without cost. (That Facebook page now has 18,500 followers.) At the time, she was holding onto unwanted dresses that her friend, in pursuit of sending her daughter to prom, accrued from thrift shops. A simple advertisement about the dresses resulted in 200+ people in Kiva’s basement. At all hours of the day, prom-bound teens combed through the inventory. 

It was then that Kiva came to a realization.

“There must be a calling for this.”

It is not common to find an abundance of sequins and silk in the center of a food pantry. But, that is exactly where the PSC landed on Feb. 1 when they expanded into the SECOR Cares warehouse. SECOR cares for families undergoing suburban poverty and works to bring them into self-sufficiency.

According to Dennis Gorton, the CEO of SECOR, the number of people struggling with poverty in suburban areas has surpassed the number of people dealing with urban poverty in the last 10 years. Douglas County is one of Colorado’s top five wealthiest counties, yet one in eight homes is struggling with suburban poverty.

“It’s not people who are strange or weird or who have overspent,” Dennis says. “The bottom line is, life happens.”

Kiva created the PSC with the same heart. The PSC was designed for people who have over-extended themselves or hit a bump in the road.

 “I dream that this would change the culture where we’re not good enough unless we spend a lot of money,” Kiva says. “We don’t have to pretend that we have way more money than we do, because we all know that we don’t. Let’s just be real for a minute.”

The PSC is all part of Kiva’s goal to bring the people of Parker back down to earth. Her nonprofit has served more than 2,000 families. That’s 2,000 people who recycled rather than buying something new.

Fashion, after oil, is the most polluting industry in the world. To further combat this environmental detriment, all of the clothes that the PSC doesn’t give away are sent to ThredUp, an online thrift store that resells or recycles every item.

Sustainable economic practices result in sustainable environmental practices. Kiva is adamant that shopping secondhand isn’t shameful. It’s smart. Being thrifty while picking out a prom dress affords teens financial freedom in other endeavors, like saving for college or a car. The PSC is not income-based and no guest has to prove need.

“This gives the kids that are actually in need a chance to come in where people of all walks of life are shopping,” Kiva says. “If you’re in need, we want you to be able to shop with dignity like everyone else.”