Summer Youngkin opened Claudia’s Closet in Lee’s Summit, Mo., in November to spend more time with her mother, who has early-onset Alzheimer’s, and to give back. The boutique thrift store, named after Youngkin’s mom, relies on volunteers and gently-used donations to operate, with proceeds going to a different local charity every month. Sales in June, which will benefit the Kansas City-based behavioral health non-profit Cornerstones of Care, could receive a big boost thanks to Redskins quarterback Alex Smith.
On Thursday, Smith’s wife, Elizabeth, tweeted that her family had donated “bag loads” of new and gently used Chiefs gear, including some game-worn sideline apparel from Smith’s five years in Kansas City, to the store.
Elizabeth Smith’s brother was good friends with Youngkin’s husband growing up in Northern California. When Smith was traded to the Chiefs from the 49ers in 2013, they reconnected, and their families became close. Youngkin was trying to decide which charity to choose for June when the Smiths offered to donate their Chiefs gear, which they no longer needed after Alex was traded to the Redskins in January.
“I wanted to do something that’s important to Alex,” said Youngkin, who will donate June’s proceeds to the Youth Educational Success program at Cornerstones of Care, which helps foster youths further their educations. It was a natural choice, as Smith’s foundation helps foster teens transition to adulthood.
“This was a way for him to continue his legacy of what he’s doing in Kansas City,” Youngkin said. “He’s a very humble guy. He’s very generous and he’s got a big heart, and I want people to know that. It’s kind of hard when someone’s only known for their on-the-field stuff.”
Youngkin planned to spend Thursday and Friday sorting through two garbage bags and a suitcase full of Chiefs memorabilia and apparel, and assigning prices to each item. The selection includes team-branded sweatshirts, hats, pants, T-shirts, collectibles and even a bedazzled Chiefs jersey made custom for Elizabeth that’s embroidered with “Mrs. Smith” on the back.
“I want to stay true to having a place where people can shop for nicer things and a good cause, where they’re going to be able to find good deals while helping the community, but I am going to take advantage of it,” Youngkin said. “I’ll make prices higher for this, for sure, because it’s going to do a lot of good.”
If you happen to be in the area, Smith’s Chiefs gear will go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m.
More on the Redskins: