Alice Le Roux, founder and president of Give to Live, isn't letting the pandemic stop one of her club's initiatives.
Alice Le Roux has over 2,000 pieces of clothing in her Ormond Beach home.
Hoodies, T-shirts, jackets and pants fill a room, crawling up the walls in piles Le Roux has yet to organize. The Spruce Creek High School rising senior is the founder and president of Give to Live, a student-run club that aims to help local families in the need. Le Roux started the club in 2015 as an eight grader in Hinson Middle School, and expanded it when she moved on to high school.
One of their many projects? Collecting clothing items, including uniforms, from the lost-and-found boxes at Volusia County Schools and donating them forward in the community.
“Even the smallest effort can make a complete difference to someone," Le Roux said.
After she was told by a teacher that classrooms will likely be colder when schools reopen due to COVID-19 precautions, this year's donation drive — to be held at Hope Place, located at 1340 Wright St. Daytona Beach., sometime near Labor Day — has an increased focus on winter clothes. It will be a "drive-by" giveaway where families will be able to pick out clothing as they drive around the overflow parking area of the family homeless shelter. A $250 grant by the Junior League of Daytona Beach helped to counter the laundry costs of washing all the items.
'More than giving'
It hasn't been easy for Le Roux, 17, to put the giveaway together this summer. Because of the pandemic, she's had to do a lot of the sorting herself seeing as practicing social distancing while sorting would be difficult. She's also helping out with her parents' business of flipping houses, attending sailing practices, doing online classes and working at Subway.
It's seeing people's reactions during the giveaways of Give to Live drive her to continue them annually.
"Hearing people’s stories, talking to the people that I meet at these giveaways, because you don’t get a lot of chances to meet so many different kinds of people from different backgrounds and doing this giveaway allows me the opportunity to do that," Le Roux said.
When she completed her first collection drive in middle school, Le Roux collected between 300-400 clothing items. Her father, Michel Le Roux, didn't doubt her efforts would be successful. He believes she can do anything she puts her mind to.
Seeing that transform into the environmentally-conscious concept of reusing rather than throwing things away has been something he likes even better.
“It’s more than giving," he said. "It’s changing a way of thinking.”
The long-term plan
For Le Roux, Give to Live started in Myanmar, where through Give to Live, she's been able to donate toys, wheelchairs to a children's hospital, and volunteer to teach English. Her grandparents in Myanmar encouraged Le Roux and her cousin to help out in the orphanages, and those experiences changed her outlook on life.
She recalls a summer when she was helping to teach at a transition school in the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar. Le Roux was 15 years old at the time, and she remembers seeing a girl her age stand outside the school and look in through the window every day.
"That made a big impact on me," she said.
It was after that she went all in with Give to Live, Le Roux said. The club has hosted school supply drives, and was working on a recycling initiative a Spruce Creek prior to the school closures.
This year, she's hoping to train a few underclassmen on how to keep the donation drives going to ensure they continue after she graduates and goes off to college. But that won't be the end of Give to Live for Le Roux regardless; she hopes to continue the club's efforts wherever she goes.
“We like change people’s mentality about wasting things and stuff like that," Le Roux said. "I strongly believe all these donation drives are great, but if you don’t change how people think, it’s only in the short term.”