A Love of Children Motivates Valued SBCO Kids’ Closet Volunteer

Edie Cussick finds great joy in serving as a Kids’ Closet volunteer.

Edie Cussick finds great joy in serving as a Kids’ Closet volunteer.

Nancy McCluskey-Moore

SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) volunteer Edie Cussick was born and raised in Brooklyn and Staten Island, but in 1978, a job transfer brought her and her husband, Ed, to Arizona. They never left, and raised their children here. Today the entire extended family—including four grandchildren—live in Arizona. Edie and Ed moved to SaddleBrooke in 2006 while Edie continued to work in Phoenix for another year.

Upon retiring after 30 years of working for IBM, Edie worked as a Kids’ Closet volunteer for two years, helping to dress the student shoppers. When she began volunteering, Kids’ Closet was still housed in an old closed school in San Manuel. After a four-year stint running her own consulting business in Tucson, Edie retired (again!) and returned to volunteering at Kids’ Closet in its new location in Mammoth. In 2018, she became a day manager, supervising the volunteers who assist children in selecting clothing and shoes.

Edie’s strong love for children led her to provide religious education for students in first through 12th grade and to supervise parental visits for children in foster care. “Every child that comes to Kids’ Closet deserves a hug, smile, and encouragement,” Edie said. Over the years helping these children has made her feel blessed to have the time and opportunity to make a difference in so many lives. “I am grateful and have a deep sense of fulfillment from this work.”

Two Kids’ Closet experiences made a big impression on Edie. Three brothers, aged four to eight years, had recently been adopted by a family. “I congratulated the oldest boy on their adoption, knowing how this would make a significant difference in his life and those of his brothers. He teared up and hugged me,” Edie recalled. One little girl was so delighted with her new clothing. “She put on her new shirt, pants, shoes, coat, hat, and gloves despite the warm temperature outside. She was so grateful for the new wardrobe she couldn’t wait to wear it!” Edie exclaimed.

Edie has taken her own grandchildren to Kids’ Closet to read to other students and help with shoe fittings. “When your parents buy you three shirts, these kids’ parents can only afford to buy them one,” Edie explained. Her grandchildren later commented, “But they look just like us.”

“It was a wonderful opportunity for them to understand that many children are not as fortunate as they are,” Edie noted.

Based on her experience, and that of Ed, who helps restock shoes at Kids’ Closet on Mondays, Edie encourages others to volunteer. “I say do it! You’ll feel a purpose for your life. Serving others is a fulfilling way to give back. As the Chinese proverb says, ‘If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.’ I have found great happiness from helping others,” Edie said.

If you would like to become a SaddleBrooke Community Outreach volunteer, please visit our website at www.community-outreach.org.