As a former educator, Kim Kerschen knows all too well the disparity of resources for many New Mexico children. Families are forced to choose between putting meals on the table, or new clothes on their children’s back.

That’s why she started the non-profit organization, Locker 505. The clothing bank outfits kindergarten through 12th-grade students with a week’s worth of clothing, shoes, socks, hygiene products and books. It’s all in an effort to put their focus on studies, rather than on holes in their shoes.

“Our focus is for them to feel good about themselves and be able to go to school,” says Kerschen.

For nearly a decade, they’ve helped more than 15,000 students, with nearly 3,000 this school year alone. Funding comes from private citizens, businesses and grants. They receive no governmental subsidies, so support from the community is as paramount as their mission.

“I do it for the smiles,” says Kerschen, “to see the kids happy and see them excited.” She says the change in kids’ performance during school is remarkable. “They’re no longer wallflowers.”

As a Remarkable Women finalist, Kerschen hopes to shed more light on the non-profit. Those interested in supporting the organization through volunteerism or donation can find them online at