POTTSTOWN - On May 23, 2012, The Salvation Army on King Street was the site of the TriCounty Community Network’s first “Dress for Success” event.
Between the hours of 10am and 1pm, 39 community members received assistance, free of charge, through several area charity and outreach organizations to help them update their wardrobes for job interviews and to wear to work.
A member of the TriCounty Community Network recognized that suitable interview and work clothes is a need that many low income and unemployed people have and presented this need to the TCN Homeless Services Program Committee.
The Committee formed a Collaboration that approached several local organizations, and through hours of planning, the Dress for Success Event evolved to help people put together outfits with accessories to achieve a professional appearance for job interviews and daily work attire.
Participants, both with appointments and walk-ins, visited the First Impressions Career Closet and the outdoor racks and tables to make their selections of very gently used and even new items, including dresses, skirts, blouses, slacks, blazers, scarves, handbags, jewelry, men’s sports jackets, men’s dress and business casual shirts, and a variety of men’s and women’s shoes.
One woman interviewed was grateful to get two business suits. She had appointments lined up through the TriCounty Career Fair held the previous week, and will connect with The Cluster to get a uniform once she is hired.
The connections she made were vital to her success.
The groups that contributed the clothes and accessories were PCRC, aka Cluster, First Impressions, and the Nottage Project.
“We are a group of volunteers and donors who look for a need and then figure out what we can do to help. We are very flexible so people can jump in and out when they want,” said Allegra Nottage of The Nottage Project.
In Ian's Boots provided restored shoes suitable for a variety jobs.
“We want our local community to know we are a resource and there is no reason for folks to go without shoes,” said Holly Wastler-Miller, President of In Ian’s Boots. “We do this for the glory of God and to honor our son, Ian."
The Salvation Army of Greater Pottstown staff was helpful and accommodating in all the TCN Homeless Services events, said Karla Romberg, Co-Chair of the TCN Homeless Services Program Committee.
"They were especially creative and flexible in this event," she said. "We had to run many ideas by the collaboration of the agencies and come up with many alternative plans before we came up with the event that worked. The event was a great success because of the staff, and all the volunteers ... All in all, it was an incredible collaboration.”
The contributing organizations included The Nottage Project (www.thenottageproject.org), In Ian’s Boots (www.iniansboots.org), First Impressions / The Soroptomist Club, The Pottstown Cluster of Religious Communities (www.pottstowncluster.org), The Salvation Army of Greater Pottstown, and TriCounty Community Network Homeless Services Program Committee.