“Kate’s Collection” at Watertown High School is a fitting way to remember


Clothes collected for people who need them at Watertown High School are displayed in Kate’s Collection in the guidance office.

Raider Times staff

From death comes mourning, despair, and sorrow. But death can also spark an opportunity to help people. The Kate Sherwood Foundation wants to do exactly that. The goal is to help students and their families who are in need, come together as a community for the benefit of those struggling, and to honor the life of Kate Sherwood — and like her become individuals “determined to help people.”

Kate died unexpectedly in February 2021, and her husband, Dougan Sherwood, started this foundation last April. The foundation supports people of all ages with monetary gifts, for buying groceries or paying rent, for example, and connects them to resources. 

Kate, who was a guidance counselor at Londonderry (N.H.) High School, was an expert in dealing with trauma. So, the foundation is running a pilot program at Watertown High School called “Kate’s Collection” that makes clothes, food, and other necessities available to students. The high school is taking donations from anyone, and anything will help.

[Kate Sherwood] was determined to help people. She was full of life and she did so much for her community, and we want to continue that.

— KIM OSBORNE, WHS guidance counselor

“Families can come and take what they need,” said WHS guidance counselor Kim Osborne, who was best friends with Kate from college. “We’re trying to make a situation where we can help the most students possible.” 

Kate’s Collection is a “stop and shop closet” and anyone of any age can come and take what they need, like a winter jacket. It’s on the honor system and it’s all free. 

The goal is to make it “convenient to give” by having the closet. Currently, the collection is set up in the guidance suite, with a few racks and piles of donated clothes, but with hopes to expand it into its own room and perhaps its own site. The organizers are trying to collect as much inventory as possible

“Just because they don’t have money, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have choices,” said Ms. Osborne. “You want them to carry pride as well, and get whatever they need from the store.”

Anybody can help by bringing donations, like clothing, money, or gift cards, to the guidance office at Watertown High School. 

“We’re trying to make it a situation where we can help the most students,” said Ms. Osborne. 

In just a year, the Kate Sherwood Foundation has helped support hundreds of families, from all around the area. 

“[Kate] was determined to help people,” said Ms. Osborne. “She was full of life and she did so much for her community, and we want to continue that.”

Ms. Osborne explained that it’s been “all hands on deck, everyone working together.” The board of trustees meets quarterly and decides how to carry out the mission.

“But also, the Foundation has provided gifts just to put a smile on [a kid’s] face,” said Ms. Osborne. “[If it’s not] a clothing, shelter, or food situation, it’s a ‘This kid has gone through a lot of stuff, let’s buy them a bicycle.’ It will make him happy, it will make him smile when he hasn’t smiled in four months because of all these things that have happened.” 

(To find out more information or to donate, go to www.katesherwoodfoundation.org.)

(Story reported and written by Raider Times reporters Lori Avakian, Emilio Berndt, Kristina Dorian, Ben Heep, Daniel Heep, Nola MacKenzie, LiaLah Mawanda, Adam Patterson, Adelle Sheynkman, and Ari Stepanian.) 

–April 13, 2022–