Fort Worth Community Collaborative cofounder and Fort Worth Weird Moms Club founder Haley Ballenger picks up donated clothes Aug. 16 at the Benbrook Library drop-off location, 1065 Mercedes St. Ballenger and Kelly Warner, Fort Worth Community Collaborative co-founder, became good friends through the weird moms club group before starting their nonprofit in 2022. (Cristian ArguetaSoto | Fort Worth Report)

When Haley Ballenger came to Fort Worth from Houston in 2018, she had no friends and nothing for herself to enjoy. Her children were young, so she didn’t have time to go out and socialize.

She started a Facebook group, called Fort Worth Weird Moms Club, to connect with other mothers in the city — it caught on quickly, she said.

“I was like, ‘This is either going to be the best thing that ever happened, or it’s going to be a total fluke,’” Ballenger said. “It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. Honestly, it changed my life for the better.”

Today, the Facebook group has more than 2,000 members, and there she met Kelly Warner, a close friend and co-founder of the Fort Worth Community Collaborative, a nonprofit organization aimed at providing clothing to parents who may not be able to afford them.

Warner and Ballenger began the collaborative in 2022 after five years of friendship and Weird Moms clothing swaps. Now, they’ve donated about two tons of clothing at places like LVT Rise, Fortress Fort Worth, and soon, the Northside Inter Community Agency, Ballenger said.

If you go:

Fort Worth Community Collaborative Community Pop-up/Clothing Drive
Northside Inter-Community Agency, 1600 Circle Park Blvd.
11 a.m.–1 p.m., Sept. 16

Source: Fort Worth Community Collaborative

“It just so happens that our kids are all stairsteps in age,” Ballenger said. “So we would be like, ‘Hey, I’m cleaning out closets. Does anybody need girls’ clothes? Does anybody need boys’ size eight?”

Warner loads donated clothes into her car Aug. 16 at the Benbrook Library drop-off location, 1065 Mercedes St. The Weird Moms clothing swaps helped Warner get through a time when she was a single mother, she said. “Your kids grow out of clothes so fast that you know it gets to a new season or the start of school and you’re like, ‘Oh, well, none of these clothes fit my kid anymore,” Warner said. “I had a pretty good job, but just being able to provide those clothes for my kid to make sure he’s clothed and fed and all of those things really helped.” (Cristian ArguetaSoto | Fort Worth Report)

Warner recognized not all parents have good-paying jobs, so she hopes their clothing donations help — the donated goods are open to all. She didn’t qualify for financial assistance because she didn’t check all the boxes required to receive it, she said.

“It’s one of those things where even though you don’t check all the boxes and qualify (for assistance,) we don’t have applications, we don’t ask any questions, you need clothes, you come in and get some,” she added. “That time of single motherhood made me feel for a lot of other single moms out there.”

Volunteers like Heather Fischer, 33, Donna Castiglione, 41, and Liz Bearce, 38, got their service starts in the Weird Moms of Fort Worth group, too.

Fischer, a mother of three and caretaker of two more, said she volunteers because she benefitted from the clothing swaps. At events, she will receive clothes and she brings bags of clothes that don’t fit her children anymore. “I’m a helper,” Fischer said. “I grew up with a lot of siblings and not a lot of money. I understand what it is to have hand-me-downs be new to you. And it’s so exciting to be able to find things that you need, but have to go into debt to get them.” (Cristian ArguetaSoto | Fort Worth Report)

Fischer, who was one of seven children, said she received her older siblings’ clothes growing up. When she arrived in Fort Worth nearly five years ago, she found a home among the weird moms, she said.

Castiglione was born in Houston but moved to Fort Worth when she was 10, she said. She was looking for more mom friends, so she joined the group and eventually began seeing the importance of the clothing swaps within the community.

Donation Drop-off Location: 

Benbrook Library, 1065 Mercedes St.
Donations bins are cleared out weekly

Source: Fort Worth Community Collaborative

The mother of four said shopping for clothes annually gets very expensive. The clothing swaps helped her and now she wants to give back. “It seems like such a simple mission, but it’s seriously brought a ton of relief to my family,” she said.

Bearce, who was born and raised in west Fort Worth, joined the weird moms group on day one. As a mother of three, she, too, understood the struggles of providing food and shelter to her children — clothes were the last thing she was worried about. “It’s really important, especially in these times that we’re living in, to be there as a support system. A lot of people are struggling right now,” Bearce said. “One of the last things that a lot of parents want to worry about is being able to get clothes and things for their children.” (Cristian ArguetaSoto | Fort Worth Report)
Warner, right, and Ballenger, left, take donated clothes to their cars on Aug. 16. The Fort Worth Community Collaborative will reach all four quadrants of the city in September 2023 with its Northside Inter-Community Agency clothing drive — a goal that Warner and Ballenger had from the beginning. (Cristian ArguetaSoto | Fort Worth Report)

Warner remains adamant about positioning her organization in communities that may need a little more assistance, but at the same time, remains open to reaching as many people as it can, she said.

“We want to help you if you need help,” Warner said.

Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement journalist at the Fort Worth Report. Contact him by email or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

Creative Commons License

Noncommercial entities may republish our articles for free by following our guidelines. For commercial licensing, please email

Cristian is a May 2021 graduate of Texas Christian University. At TCU, ArguetaSoto served as staff photographer at TCU360 and later as its visual editor, overseeing other photojournalists. A Fort Worth...