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Carrie Bush and Rachel Barry
High School East's Carrie Bush (left) and Rachel Barry stand inside the Raider Pantry which, thanks to a $6k grant from Ocean County Youth Services Commission, will soon be restocked with winter coats, hygiene supplies, and more. Photo by Allison Goodwin

Feb. 1, 2024-- Earlier this year, High School North unveiled its Captain's Closet, a pantry, clothing outlet, and resource for students in need. At High School East, meanwhile, the Raider Pantry was re-introduced a year ago in honor of the late Aidan Inteso.

Both outlets have now received a significant boost thanks to a grant from the Ocean County Youth Services Commission (OCYSC).

East and North independently applied for Confidence Closet funding in the amount of $6,000 each, and it was recently announced that both schools were awarded grants.

The Raider Pantry will be restocked with coats, as well as deodorant, feminine hygiene products, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrushes, hair brushes, combs, picks, hair-styling and maintenance products, disposable razors, shaving cream, bar soap, body wash, dental floss, mouthwash, nail clippers, laundry detergent, wipes, and hand soap. The Captain's Closet will, thanks to the grant, purchase a washer and dryer to increase and maintain its apparel options, as well as personal hygiene products.

"The impact this grant will have will be felt for years to come at Raider Nation," said HSE counselor Carrie Bush, who helps operate the Raider Pantry alongside Rachel Barry.

The initiative is led by OCYSC's Shelby Voorhees, who solicited and reviewed applications and who works directly with the county's Board of Commissions to disperse and track the approximately $100,000 in funding to be distributed to schools' closets and pantries for students and families in need. "I am thrilled to have read through all of your letters and see all the amazing plans everyone has for how this funding will be used to help our youth," Voorhees wrote in a message to awarded schools. "We have the capacity to reach so many youth and truly impact their lives in a meaningful way."

"The Captain's Closet has been a years-long labor of love for the team here at North, and this grant instantly affirms and supports those efforts," said HSN Assistant Principal Heather DeGrandis. "We are so grateful to Shelby Voorhees and the Youth Services Commission for this opportunity."

High School North team at Captain Closet
From left to right above, High School North's Kodi Sohl, Matthew DeRiggi, and Jacqueline Powell helped found the Captain's Closet, and celebrated its grand opening alongside Assistant Principal Dave Fazzini in November. Now, thanks to the OCYSC grant, the space will have even more clothes, shoes, bags (below) and essentials--at no cost--for students and families in need.
Captain Closet clothes shoes and more
Carrie Bush and Rachel Barry photo 2

Carrie Bush and Rachel Barry stand in front of the Aidan Inteso memorial plaque posted in front of the Raider Pantry.