City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More

Featured Article

Warmth: In Coats and Hearts

The Closet and Columbia Sportswear Team Up to Help Local Teens

Article by Jordan Gray

Photography by The Closet

Originally published in Meridian Lifestyle

As winter temperatures bite deeper each day, a new winter coat can make a world of difference to a kid who needs one.

For some Ada County kids, that’s where Kelly McMurry and The Closet come in.  

“I see boys and girls in sixth through twelfth grade living and going to school in Ada County,” she said. “They get a private, one-hour appointment to come in and shop our store. All the clothing is gently used and there’s some new mixed in. To get something new is a big deal to them. They get to take 12 items home with them of their choice. A lot of them have lived with hand-me-downs their whole life.”

The kids and teens come to McMurry’s attention for a visit to The Closet in a variety of ways.

“We’re partnered with a number of resources in town,” she said. “School counselors, juvenile corrections, homeless shelters, mental health agencies, foster care, kids aging out of foster care. Sometimes just word of mouth. Somebody knows somebody who knows somebody who needs help.”

And since its founding, McMurry and The Closet have helped a lot of people.

“We’ve seen well over 8,000 teens at The Closet,” she said. McMurry founded the organization back in 2010. “They’re invited to come back every season. I’ve seen some kids since they were in sixth grade, and now I’m seeing them graduate.”

McMurry is also seeing another trend: a growing need for help.

“My phone rings constantly,” she said. “There are times when my phone rings more, and it’s usually when the weather changes. It’s more than that now though. We have a larger population. We have people moving from other places and sometimes from situations that weren’t good. A lot of people losing their homes because rent is so high. Job losses. So many reasons that the calls are coming in stronger. But it’s big right now: the need. And it's hard when someone calls with a desperate need, and I can’t immediately help. If I did it 24 hours a day, I still don’t know if it would be enough. But we do what we can.”

From December 1-17, you can help support The Closet by bringing your new or gently used clothing donation to the Columbia Sportswear store at The Village at Meridian. As part of the Columbia Community Cares program, you’ll also receive $20 off $150 or more for your donation, and 10% of any purchase you make will be donated to The Closet.

To learn more about additional ways you can support The Closet, visit

“We’ve seen well over 8,000 teens at The Closet. They’re invited to come back every season. I’ve seen some kids since they were in sixth grade, and now I’m seeing them graduate.”

Businesses featured in this article