Thanks to the generosity of donors, we have lots of clothes waiting for clients at Wear2Start. So we’ve decided to try to expand our reach to help even more women in need. Since Wear2Start was founded in 2001, we have primarily worked with employment agencies and community organizations who refer their clients to us. Most of these women are coming to us from employment programs and need clothes for a job interview or a new job.
But we also get lots of calls from others who need help. We serve as many as we can, but we receive no government funding and depend on grants and donations. That’s why we’ve started our campaign to “Give the Gift of Possibilities,” which will allow us to serve more clients who are in need. For the rest of this year, we’re asking supporters to consider giving a donation of money instead of clothing. Maybe you could make it part of your seasonal giving or pool your money instead of doing your usual gift exchange.
We want to be able to help self-identified women who are not currently in an employment or training program but who are taking steps in their lives to better their circumstances — which, in turn, will allow them to achieve success in their life journeys and future employment in whatever form that may take. We want to serve women who might need appropriate clothing for a day at court, meeting a potential new landlord, going to a parent/teacher conference, attending a networking event, having a table at a craft fair, meeting with a social worker, resuming work after serious illness or injury or a myriad of other circumstances.
When women are referred to us, they pay nothing. The agency or organization that refers them pays a nominal fee of $40, but sometimes it’s not in their budget and they can’t cover the cost. We waive fees as often as we can, but we can’t do that forever and still cover our own costs, including rent, insurance and supplies, and to purchase new undergarments for clients.
Every client receives a wardrobe of mix-and-match clothing appropriate for their needs and is also offered shoes, a handbag, accessories such as jewelry and scarves, a warm coat in winter and a bag of personal-care essentials. Thanks to generous hair stylists in our community, clients also have an opportunity to book an appointment for a free hair cut.
Clients tell us the Wear2Start experience helps them feel empowered to make a better future for themselves. Our boutique operators serve one client at a time, much like a personal shopper, putting together mix-and-match pieces to build a wardrobe. But it’s about more than the clothes.
Here’s how one former client summed up the experience: “I had a horrible experience [when I was] unemployed. There’s a stigma. If you’re on income assistance, people treat you differently. People were very unkind. And at Wear2Start, it was the first time anyone had shown me any kindness at all. They gave me back my self-respect because those ladies at the boutique made me feel valued and special. I will never forget that.”
Help us provide more women with that special experience. While $40 can sponsor one woman, any amount helps.Here are ways you can donate:
- by e-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org
- send a cheque to the Wear2Start Society, 216-733 Johnson St., Victoria, V8W 1M8
- online at Canada Helps