UNT departments regularly order apparel from various vendors, but when those orders are able to help the vendor donate shirts to Dallas schools, it’s a win-win situation for all, as UNT Housing and Residence Life recently experienced.

UNT Housing and KIPP Truth AcademyAfter being approached by Joe Williams, the founder of Agape North, about the benefits of ordering t-shirts through his company, Housing decided to give the vendor a try.

“Williams told us about their products and the impacts that they have on the community,” said Eric Johnson, assistant director for residence life-leadership development. “For us, if the price was comparable to our old vendors and provided this great good to a local school, then we thought why not try it.”

The established ratio was 5:1, so for every 5 custom shirts or other custom apparel products UNT purchased from Agape North, the company would be able to give one school polo shirt to a student in need locally.

Housing placed several orders with Agape North, totaling 1,000 shirts in all. These included Mean Green Move-In t-shirts and t-shirts for the community shirts program. These t-shirts were sold to the residence hall communities as a way for students to show pride for where they live. Every advertisement for the t-shirts indicated that a portion of the money from their sale would help purchase shirts for a Dallas school, so the students knew that their money was going to a good cause.

UNT Housing and KIPP Truth AcademyUNT purchased enough shirts from Agape North to cover the cost of a spirit t-shirt for all 475 students at KIPP Truth Academy in South Dallas, which selected t-shirts instead of polos in order to provide for the entire student body. UNT Housing staff and students were able to visit KIPP on November 29 and meet its students, who were happy to show their gratitude for the t-shirts.

“We believe in our model and mission because we have seen over and over again that adequate clothing is a real barrier for kids showing up to school and being able to focus in the classroom,” said Jason Baker, director of school relations for Agape North. “Our business takes an everyday item people purchase and creates a giving opportunity out of it. More than that, we create giving events between the account and the school they are giving to so the gift is personal and relational.”

Partnering with Agape North was simply another way for Housing to demonstrate its commitment to helping others.

“Service is a key part of the Department of Housing and Residence Life,” said Johnson. “Our department believes that if we are able to remove one barrier of education to any student, then that means that student has more opportunities for success now and in the future.”

Photos courtesy of Agape North

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Contact: Ray Willhoft, 940-565-2464, raymond.willhoft@unt.edu