Working Gear Clothes Work-Ready Men and Helps Brighten Lives
It’s been a busy summer for volunteers at Vancouver’s Working Gear Clothing Society. Each Saturday from 10:00am until 2:00pm job-ready men, or “customers”, show up by appointment to be fitted for dress pants, shirts, construction gear, steel-toe boots, and even three-piece suits.
The men, that Working Gear sees, come from very different backgrounds and ages but at the core their stories are similar – they are trying to better themselves by finding legal and full-time employment. Some have struggled with drugs, alcohol, depression and low self-esteem, yet all are determined to fight against the past and begin a new life. The next step to this new life begins with full time employment. Working Gear Clothing Society believes that if they can help make them look polished, professional and work-appropriate then it just might help them land the job and give them confidence as they start the job.
Since the non-profit opened its doors in November of 2007 it has helped over 1000 men – something that Johnson and the Working Gear board are thrilled about. However, with a slow donation year, it has become stressful financially for the organization. Johnson shares, “We are a micro non-profit with no paid staff. This ensures that 100% of all donations and contributions that we receive go directly to the men that we help, and this is so great. But in order to keep our doors open and provide support for more men we need to have some regular champions.”
Although the organization has experienced financially tough times, Johnson shares that working with the “customers” is worth the effort and the worry. “When a customer leaves feeling confident and standing a little taller – that is the payoff for us initially. When we later hear that they landed full-time employment and doing well – there is no better feeling. It’s such a success story.”