By Heidi Glaus
ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - In a nondescript building, past the desks, and through a door, compassion is piling up.
"These are brand new shirts," said Lucy England, volunteer manager.
It all started in 2001, kind of by accident, with a coat drive.
"We got a call from an inner city school teacher asking for children's coats and we went down gave out 170 coats to a school of 250 kids, and when we were there I saw the need, and it was 20 minutes away from where I lived, and I thought how can this be here in St. Louis," explained Rosemary Hanley, co-founder and executive director of The Little Bit Foundation.
Not long after that, Hanley and a friend created The Little Bit Foundation, a not-for-profit that doesn't just provide clothes to kids in need, they provide new clothes.
"It's all about the child's self-esteem, it's all about respecting that child so we want to make sure that whatever we give them is the best," Hanley added.
So they purchase brand new clothes in bulk.
"We do underwear and socks, hats and coats," England said.
And they now work with 16 schools to make sure more than 4,000 students have what they need. They don't just drop off boxes, there's actually stock at Little Bit boutiques in each of the 16 schools so kids don't have to wait for the simplest necessities.
"The Little Bit Foundation is very good about finding out the needs of our students and you may think this is small, but this is big. This is a closet full of underwear," said Dr. Donna Owens, principal of Clay Elementary.
"So the children come down to our little bit room and we work one on one with them. We actually put the shoes on their feet with clean socks," Hanley added.
The effect is much bigger than just the smiles.
"Not only in the smiles, but how they carry themselves. It's like I have something new on so now I feel good about who I am and then they go into the classroom ready to learn," said Dr. Owens.
"Little Bit believes that by breaking down barriers that stand in front of children from receiving an education they can change their lives," Hanley added.
Principals and teachers agree proving every little bit makes a really big difference.
For more on The Little Bit Foundation, visit their website.