Laker Cupboard opens at Detroit Lakes High School

New, free shop helps meet student needs by providing school supplies, clothes and snacks.

Renee Kerzman folds a new T-shirt that is offered to students at the Laker Cupboard, free of charge.
Barbie Porter / Detroit Lakes Tribune

DETROIT LAKES — Student needs are being met at Detroit Lakes High School, beyond the classroom.

The school recently unveiled its Laker Cupboard, a shop-for-free option for students. Renee Kerzman, the director of curriculum, instruction and technology for the district, explained if a student’s parents are out of town and they forgot to pack a snack or bring money, the Laker Cupboard is there to provide.

“Or maybe a student gets their clothes wet; instead of wearing wet clothes, we have sweatshirts and pants that they can have,” Kerzman said.

Items available to Detroit Lakes High School students include a variety of snack choices.
Barbie Porter / Detroit Lakes Tribune

The idea was born when the district staff looked for ways to help students classified as homeless. While the Laker Cupboard aims to help those who need it most, Kerzman said the group quickly realized everyone can use a hand from time to time. To gain access to the shop, a student should stop by the school counselor office. The high school has three counselors on staff and each can unlock the room, which is located across the hall from their offices.

The products at the Laker Cupboard span from school utensils, like pencils, pens and calculators, to clothes (socks to jackets) and food items. Kerzman said the products that fill the Laker Cupboard were purchased through donated funds.


“We requested funds through The Emma Project,” Kerzman said, adding they were generous enough to donate, along with local businesses and organizations, such as Lakeshirts and the Detroit Lakes Police Department.

Kerzman said when the Laker Cupboard idea was presented to administration, the hope was a closet could be utilized. Instead, she said High School Principal Josh Omang found them a much larger space.

The 18-foot by 20-foot space provided was one of three study rooms along the same corridor.

Once the space was found and funding for products were secured, Detroit Lakes resident Michelle Maier stepped in. Kerzman called Maier an “angel,” as she volunteered her time to organize the room.

“She measured, organized and got it up and running with the donated supplies,” Kerzman said.

The school’s construction trades class built the shelving and some senior students pitched in, as the topic correlated with their capstone project. Kerzman added school social worker Allison Knutson also worked closely on the project.

Kerzman said wall decorations need to be added and will include student artwork.

Anyone wanting to donate to the Laker Cupboard can contact the district office at 218-847-9271 or send an email to


Classroom supplies are also available for students at Detroit Lakes High School.
Barbie Porter / Detroit Lakes Tribune

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