WIN Warehouse, a public charity that connects nonprofit organizations with corporate excess inventory, partnered with Men’s Wearhouse for the 10th Annual National Suit Drive: a month-long initiative to collect gently-used professional clothing for Americans transitioning back into the workforce.
Several St. Louis area nonprofits assist individuals in need including homeless, ex-offenders, US veterans, and at-risk youth with limited opportunities. To accomplish their goals, these service charities provide job training programs, interview techniques, as well as how to dress for success. To further their mission, these organizations provide the professional attire to the individuals enrolled in the programs. However, with limited resources, the organizations rely on donations of new and gently used professional clothing. Additionally, coordinating the logistics of collecting these suits can be quite a daunting task.
Throughout the month of July 2017, donations were collected at Men’s Wearhouse stores that were then distributed to WIN Warehouse and more than 170 nonprofit organizations across the country that help disadvantaged individuals regain employment through job readiness programs and workforce assistance.
Starting July 1, residents of the Greater St. Louis area donated their gently used professional clothing, including men’s and women’s suits, ties, jackets, shirts, pants, belts and shoes to various St. Louis area Men’s Wearhouse locations. As a thank you, donors received 50 percent off their next purchase of regular priced retail items.
The Men’s Wearhouse 10th Annual National Suit Drive garnered nearly 1,300 donations for the St. Louis region. WIN Warehouse hosted a distribution day at their warehouse to deliver the suits and professional attire to local service charities including Employment Connection and Fathers’ Support Center.
“This year’s drive was the most successful one yet,” says Tony DiFranco, program director of WIN Warehouse. “We are honored and humbled to be one link in the chain of amazing work that organizations like Employment Connection and Fathers’ Support Center do every day.”
The suit donations came at the perfect time for Employment Connection. A homeless veteran had been without a place to live for nine months before contacting the nonprofit. The gentleman mourned the loss of his suit collection which he had to give up when he could no longer afford his storage locker. He wanted to go on a job interview, but was concerned about his appearance because he didn’t have the proper attire to wear. Due to WIN’s distribution of the suit donations, the gentleman could wear a suit again.
“He was gracious and excited to wear a suit again and with some minor alterations and good pressing, he was ready to go on his interviews,” says Rachel Walker, housing specialist for veterans at Employment Connection. “You have no idea what something small, like a good suit, can do for a person who feels defeated. I’m excited to see where this journey will take the veteran.”
In a job interview, confidence can be a deciding factor landing the position. The National Suit Drive provides men and women the opportunity to look and feel their best as they take the next step in their career.
“We are grateful to be a continued partner of the annual suit drive,” said DiFranco. “We are able to support St. Louis’ nonprofit organizations that offer programs for both men and women to help them get back on their feet and find gainful employment.”