February 07, 2011 12:00 PM

FAITH MICHAELS, 52

ELAINE SHANNON, 57

Brookline, Mass.

On a bitter cold morning in 1990, 6-year-old Tim Jones left his housing project in Brookline, Mass., and stopped to pick up his classmate Alexander on the way to school. As Alexander’s mom, Faith Michaels, greeted the boy on the doorstep of her Victorian townhouse, she looked down and gasped: Not only were Tim’s toes poking through his too-small sneakers, his coat was a lightweight soccer jacket. “This is a wealthy town,” recalls Michaels, a landscape designer. “But we had problems here in our own neighborhood.”

Moved by Tim’s plight, she and pal Elaine Shannon, along with other friends, contributed $200 to buy Tim and his brother new winter clothing. Inspired to do more, the women then collected enough donations to outfit 30 more low-income kids at a nearby school. Now, 20 years later, through their nonprofit Kids Clothes Club (kidsclothesclub.org), Michaels and Shannon-a hair and makeup stylist-have purchased 85,000 new coats for Boston-area kids through donations and funds raised at bowling parties and auctions. “I still remember that first coat,” says Tim Jones, 26, a college graduate. “It was something to call my own. It gave me confidence and helped me believe in myself.”

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