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East Valley Focus

VAN NUYS : Clothing Intended for Poor Youths Is Stolen

August 25, 1994|SUSAN BYRNES

After spending all summer gathering clothes for poor children to wear to school, a Valley charity is facing the start of the academic year with its racks nearly bare.

A break-in at its Van Nuys headquarters last week has left the Volunteer League of the San Fernando Valley with not nearly enough clothes to outfit the 2,000 children it assists every year.

Thieves broke a window of the charity's headquarters--a two-story house on Hamlin Street--on Aug. 15 and stole about $7,000 worth of clothing and equipment.

Boxes of new jeans, jackets and shoes were taken, in addition to computers, a fax machine, an answering machine and all of the organization's records that were stored on disks and in the computers. The league has insurance, but President Eileen Fewless said she worries that the reimbursements will not arrive in time to buy new clothes before the school year begins.

"I don't know what it's going to do to us," Fewless said. "It's going to be like we are starting from scratch."

Founded in 1952, the organization provides two complete outfits, including jeans, shoes and jackets, to schoolchildren from low-income families who are referred by school counselors and social workers.

"It's just so frustrating when you are working in the community and want to do something good, and you know when they come you are not going to be ready for them," Fewless said. "That's what breaks our hearts the most." For more information about the charity, call (818) 785-4134.

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