Imagine a world where moms and dads could clothe their children for just $7. In Long Beach, at Green Jean Kids, this is happening every day. Founder and CEO Rebecca Juarez explains that clients bring in 25 pieces of clothing that their kids have outgrown, then select 25 gently used pieces of clothing in their child’s current size from the shop, and they’re out the door for a charge of only $7.
Juarez opened Green Jean Kids in 2015 and now serves 600 to 700 families all over Long Beach and the surrounding area, and as far east as the San Gabriel Valley. The nonprofit charges its minimal admission fee to pay rent for the 8,000-square-foot space at 1090 E. Pacific Coast Highway that houses about 20,000 pieces of clothing for children from birth to age 10. “Most people love our program. We have regulars, so we’ve had moms come in as many as 10 times since we opened,” says Juarez.
Her goal is to help families in need and help parents make sure that their kids have clothes for school. “Nobody wants their kid to look like they are struggling,” Juarez says. “You don’t want that reflected in your child. So, this gives them the opportunity that they might not have otherwise.”
Green Jean Kids also has an outreach program. Juarez and volunteers give away clothes at 15 nearby schools each year and to up to 500 families at Christmas. “It’s a labor of love,” says Juarez. “It’s definitely a lot of work. You have to be able to feel the reward in the satisfaction of what you are doing every day, seeing the kids excited.”
This hand-me-down program is also great for the environment, and Green Jean Kids is expanding to include maternity clothing. Office hours are Thursday and Friday mornings and Saturday afternoons by appointment only, and you can learn more at www.greenjeankids.org.
“It’s the only thing I can see doing for the rest of my life,” Juarez says of her endeavor. “I just love it.”