Jefferson Award Winner: Trish Lukert

Jefferson Awards

Highlighting Local Volunteers

The Jefferson Awards engages the Partners in our communities to highlight local volunteers. The goal is to spotlight the great work they do and to inspire our community to put their service ideas into action.

From the 2019-2020 Honorees, a local panel of judges select one winner that will travel to the National Gala in Washington, DC. to represent Northeast Kansas.  From the nationwide winners, one will be selected for a national Jefferson Award.

Sabetha, KAN. (KSNT) — If you know a child who needs a coat, pair of jeans school supplies, you name it, Trish Luckert has you covered.

She runs the Kids Kloset in Sabetha with her sidekick Kim Rettele.

“Kim and I are both old grannies,” Trish Lukert said.

Grannies who care about kids.

At the ‘Kids Kloset,’ kids get the chance to shop for everything they need without ever paying a dime.

And here’s a bonus feature about the closet, everything is new. Making sure all items available are new is something Trish really strives for, “Kids when they go to school, I didn’t want somebody to go that used to be my coat and make them feel down a notch again.”

Both Trish and Kim admit they are bargain shoppers. With the help of community members making monetary donations, they’re able to keep the Kloset stocked.

But that hasn’t always been the case. For years Trish took care of the Kloset alone, paying for everything out of her own pocket, “It had gotten where it had outgrown my billfold for what I was able to do and I kept wanting to do more and more.”

Trish first got started with the Kloset after her dear friend Angie McGuire passed away from cancer. Angie started the program and ran it out of a literal closet in the Sabetha Elementary School for years.

“She and I became very close friends and I just couldn’t let it go when she passed away,” Trish said.

Trish found a way to get by, but eventually wound up asking the community for help.

The community responded generously, donating gift cards and cash.

The city of Sabetha pitched in, allowing Trish to move the Kids Kloset over to an old school building. Giving her more space to store everything, and it allowed her to set the Kloset up in a way that resembles a store.

And her fearless sidekick and shopping partner, Kim came on board.

“It’s been hard, we’ve about thrown in the towel a couple of times,” Kim said jokingly.

It was just a year and a half ago that Trish made her plea to the community for help. In that time the program has helped over 250 kids in the area. Kids who otherwise would’ve gone without the basic necessities.

“And never, never ever would I have guessed the need was that great,” Kim said.

For Trish she gets the satisfaction of knowing she’s honoring her friend, Angie, taking care of kids, and the best part, getting paid in hugs, ” That is all I need, give me a hug and I’m happy.”

If you would like to help the Kids Kloset by making a donation, check or gift card is recommended, you can mail that to: Kids Kloset — 1983 W Road Sabetha, Kansas 66534.

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