One of the first community partners we were connected with was the Freret Neighborhood Center.  Through a friend, I heard they have a huge Halloween Block Party every year for the kids, and besides the food and games, they also do a costume giveaway.  I thought this was great and something that ricRACK would be able to help with.  ricRACK has lots of great costumer volunteers, and wants to help save clothing and costumes from the trash.  We sent out postcards to costume shops and  designers and asked for any unwanted costumes or costumey bits.  We married our collection with the leftover costumes from previous years partys, and donation boxes around town.  We sorted, and cleaned, and fixed, and organized all the costumes and accessories into big kids and little kids.  There was a tent outside for teens and the we used the center for babies through 10 year olds.  There were over a dozen ricRACK volunteers before, during, and after the event….which was just one night…a  Tuesday night, from 4-7pm.  In that time, we handed out just over 900 costumes.  There was barely a mask or princess tiara left. 

We continued to partner with the FNC for this event in 2013, 2014, and 2015, giving out hundreds more costumes.

Sadly, the FNC closed, and the goals for the parent company, NHS, had changed.

We have lots of kids costumes still stored, leftover from 2015, and are looking for a community center with a Halloween Party, that’s ready to add some ricRACK love! 



I’ll never forget the day I started thinking about an Entrepreneur Program. September 2013, I was on location in Shreveport, LA and sitting in a boring apartment I’d tried to make feel like home. I’d put big sheets of paper on the walls and was bouncing around ideas of programs for ricRACK.  An after school program.  A repurposed fashion show…..etc

But the Entrepreneur program I thought about the most.  I wanted to include a way of paying it forward and working for charities.  I wanted to include product development, business marketing, and creative freedom.  How do I roll all these into one? It took 4 years to work this out.

This week, on June 6, 2017, two boys, Ricky and Sylvester, sat in front of me and shared their dreams and their goals, and I had to hold back tears looking at the first members of our Entrepreneur Club.



Here’s how it works:

For every hour Ricky and Sylvester work on charitable products….we’re starting with comfort wear for the Ronald McDonald House….for every hour they sew on these projects, they bank hours to work on their own products, a 1:1 ratio.

They will come to us Mon-Thurs 330-630, and Saturday 12-3 for the next 6 weeks.

They will receive a bonus based on attendance, and a majority percentage of the sales.

We have 5 incredible mentors working with the guys in the program…..Nancy Zufall, Heidi Bayer, Karen Clark, Kris Anderson, and me, Alison Parker.

We will focus on sewing and construction Mon and Tues, product development on Wednesdays, Thursdays will be for marketing and business theory, and Saturdays will be their chance to review.  That’s the first 3 weeks.  The last 3 weeks we hope to be in the manufacturing and selling stage.

This is what we hope for anyway. This is a pilot program, and there will be kinks to work out.  Dream it, do it.

Want to contribute….drop us a line @ ricracknola@gmaI'




I was asked in the very beginning of ricRACK who were the youth that ricRACK wanted to serve?  Was it the less fortunate? at risk? Little kids or teens? Girls or boys? Under-privileged? Economically deprived?

And I answered ALL children.

It makes my heart pitter patter to see youngsters sitting at a sewing machine, measuring out seam allowance, pinning fabrics together, and seeing a finished product.

I don’t want to discriminate or choose students based on anything.




I want sewing resources available for any and all children.I’d heard once that if you have the skills to sew, you could build a house.  And, I do believe that.  I think when your brain is learning the techniques to put materials together, measure, and fit, that information translates into so many other areas of building and construction. It’s great to know that we’re not just teaching sewing, but skills and thinking patterns that affect so many areas of life.We are grateful and humbled to be given the opportunity to teach.It’s one thing to say you want to teach kids how to sew, it’s another to do it. In 2017, we’re close to our 5 year anniversary, and still learn how to work and adapt to new and different students.  But, just as we started, we still keep our doors open to ALL youth.



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Around the summer of 2012, I was organizing the wardrobe trailer on the 2nd season of GIRLS and was listening to NPR.

There was an interview with Elizabeth Cline, author of Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion.
And as I sifted through and organized, I knew after hearing this interview that fabric re-use and textile repurposing was going to play a big role in the life of ricRACK.
I heard things like...

"There is enough fabric produced every year to wrap around the Earth 3 times." 
"The dyes and chemicals that are in clothing and fabrics release methane when they are decomposing…methane is a harmful greenhouse gas and contributor to global warming." 
So clothing that claims “ wrinkle free” or “stain resistant” means it has been chemically treated.

Americans, just Americans throw away approximately 11 MILLION tons of textiles every year.

And, according to Cline “The process of making textiles has never been green. The technology and regulations to make textile manufacturing less environmentally harmful have improved dramatically in the United States, but the textile industry has largely moved overseas in recent decades to countries that are ill-equipped or simply too poor to reduce the impact of the fiber-making process.”

We started a campaign to reach out to theatres, costumers, production companies, and designers and tell them we were starting to collect donations of unwanted costumes, notions, and fabrics. To date, we have received over 5,000 lbs of fabric, bins of notions, tools, and supplies.

Please support Elizabeth and her campaign to inform consumers:

PO Box 750997

New Orleans, LA 70175

ricRACK Warehouse is appointment only

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