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DFW Charity Provides Free Clothes To Children From Families In Need: 'It Was Like A Godsend'

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - We've been through Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.

Giving Tuesday is next.

In North Texas, the day to give back to non-profits is recognized as Give Big DFW. Though Give Big DFW, the United Way is helping to raise awareness for the needs of 400 local non-profits.

Giving a little can truly make a difference – something Shawana Carter knows well.

She is the founder of Carter's House. Carter's House provides free children's clothing and school uniforms to families in need.

Shawana Carter
Shawana Carter of Carter's House (CBS 11)

From underwear to winter coats, families can make an appointment to shop in her boutique three times a year. Some of the items are brand new and some are gently used donations. All are free.

"When our parents come in they actually shop. Nobody's here to stand over their shoulder. They get the same dignity they would if they walked inside of a Ross or a Marshalls or Walmart and got what they needed to get," Carter explains.

Carter knows the difficult decision many North Texas parents face: a choice among food, shelter and clothes.

"My husband and I were both employed, but not enough money. We had three children and we found ourselves living in a motel in Irving," Carter says of her past experience.

Years ago, someone helped her. Now she is in a position to pay it forward.

"I was aware there was a need. What I didn't realize or understand is how big the need is," Carter says.

Kimberly Reed can relate.

"Me and my children were in a situation, and I needed some clothes for them," Reed says.

She came to Carter's House and found what she needed.

"At that time I'm not sure what I would have done. Like i said, [Shawana] made it easy. It was like a godsend right then. I don't know what would have happened," Reed says.

In her first year, Shawana Carter helped 20 families, but Carter's House has grown a lot.

"This year we're slated to hit abut 1,600 kids," Carter says.

"The more you give, the more you receive. Shawana does that," says Reed, who now volunteers at Carter's House.

"We don't give because we want to get anything back, but I will be honest with you. I get an immense amount of joy when I watch a child try on a pair of pants and they fit. When I see a parent calmed, because their child had no coat. Now they don't have to worry about them being sick and walking to school," says Shawana.

If you'd like to learn more about Carter's House – how to receive and how to give – click here.

You can also support other nonprofits on Giving Tuesday through Give Big DFW.

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