Clothing bin to benefit D.A.R.E. program

  • A  DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) clothing bin placed last month in front of the Athol police station on Exchange Street will help raise funds for student workbooks and the Athol police department. DEBORRAH PORTER

Staff Writer
Published: 8/20/2019 9:55:18 PM
Modified: 8/20/2019 9:55:10 PM

ATHOL – The path to teaching local kids to make safe and healthy decisions may begin at a donation bin in front of the Athol police station.

The bin for clothing donations, provided by the non-profit DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), was set up last month at the 280 Exchange St. building. Founded in 1983, DARE has expanded its focus to teach students to “lead lives free from substance abuse and other dangerous behaviors.”

Just down the street from the DARE bin, at 251 Exchange St. in the North Quabbin Community Coalition building is the new site of the Massachusetts DARE headquarters. “We represent DARE America,” said Len Crossman, Massachusetts DARE coordinator and Orange resident. The Athol-based DARE office, which opened in January, serves the entire state.

DARE has been using the clothing bin program for 10 years, according to Crossman, with a number of them located across the state, including several in Orange located at the police station and public schools. The DARE bin at the police station is the only one in Athol. “We’re aiming to get them to a number of police departments, commercial properties and businesses throughout the state,” Crossman said.

Once it becomes a steady, constant source, the bin program gets so many cents per pound from partner Charity Services of Rhode Island, sometimes bringing in $25 a month per bin. The money earned from the Athol bin will go into a general fund for student workbooks, distributed to any community in need, according to Crossman. “A small percentage will also go directly to the Athol Police Department to use however they deem proper.”

DARE provides a curriculum specially tailored for a police officer who goes through an 80-hour DARE Officer training course and becomes certified to teach in the classroom.”It’s a different kind of training than the officers are used to,” according to Crossman, a part-time police officer in Northfield.

Crossman said that with the DARE program, “kids get to interact with police officers in a positive way.” Currently schools in the North Quabbin towns of Erving, Royalston, Orange and Petersham use the program. “We’re hoping to build it up into something bigger.”

Aside from clothing and shoe donations, other fabric items such as blankets and curtains will also be accepted.

For more information, call 978-249-3703 or email

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