Twenty-one years ago, Henry Potter bought some new clothes – instead of toys — for an eight-year-old boy he was mentoring.

Potter was amazed at how grateful the boy was, and that little bit of joy was the start of a program to provide money for many kids to buy new clothes.

My how it’s grown.

Entirely from donations, last year Potter and his volunteers raised $88,000 for such clothes. This year he hopes to top that amount. He sold beef and pork in sandwiches as well as bulk packages at Gary’s Super Foods on Saturday-Sunday, July 18-19, to raise money. By Sunday afternoon, he said he’d taken in a lot. Also, his spirits were buoyed by a $5,000 donation that morning after he spoke at Harvest Christian Fellowship.

The kids receive a once-a-year shopping trip to Wal-Mart for new clothes. Elementary ages get $75 to spend; middle schoolers, $100 and high schoolers, $125.

The clothes are just in time for the first day of school. Children who feel good about themselves because of what they are wearing to school have more success in the classroom, Potter says.

Potter, who lives in Willow lsland, said the program now reaches about 1,000 kids each year who live in as many as 35 towns in central Nebraska. The organization is divided into five councils. All of the money raised by each council stays in that area.

Children are nominated by police, social workers, counselors, civic groups and so forth.

The program is named L2, referring to the Biblical story of Lazarus, who was raised from the dead and had a second chance to do good works. The clothes give the children a second chance.   

Gifts and trust funds are welcome and can be given through the website, l2forkids.org.

All gifts are presented to the children as gifts from God, Potter says.

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