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Released inmates need clothes for job interviews

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Written by
Mike Hasten
mhasten@gannett.com

 

BATON ROUGE — When a man or woman has been behind bars for a few years, it’s difficult to get a job without proper clothing for an interview.

The state Department of Public Safety and Corrections is joining with Refined by Fire Ministries in seeking men’s and women’s suits and other articles of clothing suitable for wearing to a job interview. It’s part of corrections’ re-entry program for people who have served their time in prison and need a job to restart their lives.
The drive ends Aug. 31.

 

Men’s Wearhouse stores around the state are serving as collection points for “gently used” and cleaned men’s and women’s suits, sports coats, shirts and blouses, jackets, ties, belts and shoes. Items should be on hangers.

 

“Over the last several years, the department’s focus has been on making the transition from incarceration back to the community as smooth as possible,” said DPS&C Secretary James M. Le Blanc. “The suit drive helps in this endeavor by providing clothing and confidence for our clients that is sure to make job hunting easier.”

 

This is the fourth consecutive year the department’s suit drive is aided by RBF Ministries and Men’s Wearhouse.

 

“I wish each one of our clothing donors had the opportunity to see these men and women being transformed as they put a suit or dress jacket on for the first time in so many years, said RBF CEO Elain Ellerbe.

 

“Knowing they will walk out of the front gates in clothing that befits the positive image they now wish to project brings them a measure of hope that they can and will succeed in life,” she said. “We urge communities across our state to clean out their closets and go to the nearest Men’s Wearhouse to donate your gently used professional wear for this very worthwhile effort.”

 

Ellerbe and her husband, Michael, conduct literacy classes at Dixon Correctional Institute in Jackson. They specialize in financial literacy and money management instruction for inmates in a pre-release program. Michael Ellerbe is director of pre-release for DCI.

 

“With nearly 1 out of 10 working-age men unemployed in this country, the weak economic recovery has disproportionately hurt the male work force,” said George Zimmer, Men’s Wearhouse founder and CEO. He said the goal is “to help men and women ‘suit up’ for job interviews and give them an important boost of confidence that will help them reach their goals.”

 

Nationally, the clothing store hopes to collect more than 100,000 articles of clothing for individuals released from prison and returning to their communities. Last year, more 580 items were collected in Louisiana.

 

Donors will receive receipts for tax purposes and coupons for 50 percent off purchases at Men’s Wearhouse. The store will donate a tie for every suit received.

 

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Written by demon53

August 3, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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