Give A Suit, Change Lives For The Better, Get A Coupon
BATON ROUGE – The 10th Annual National Suit Drive gets underway this month. The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections (DPS&C) is partnering with Men’s Wearhouse and Refined by Fire Ministries (RBF) to give releasing offenders assistance in looking for a job and dressing for the part.
Men’s Wearhouse locations across Louisiana will accept interview-appropriate men’s and women’s clothing July 1-31. Donations of gently used and clean items such as suits, dress shirts, jackets, dress skirts, outerwear, ties, belts and shoes will all be accepted.
Donors will receive a 50 percent discount coupon toward a future purchase at Men’s Wearhouse, excluding shoes, clearance, custom and Exceptional Value items.
More than 16,500 men and women released from DPS&C custody back into Louisiana communities in 2016. Many face obstacles making a successful and permanent transition.
“Finding employment is probably the biggest challenge men and women face after incarceration, but it is one of the big predictors of success if they can land a steady job,” said DPS&C Secretary James M. Le Blanc. “DOC works to prepare offenders educationally and through job application and interview preparation. The public can contribute to a person’s reintegration into society by donating professional clothing to people who are starting over.”
Having a polished, professional look is critical to making a good first impression, organizers said. The annual effort is known as the “Michael Ellerbe Legacy Suit Drive” in honor of the former pre-release director at Dixon Correctional Institute.
“We are proud to continue my late husband’s legacy of assisting returning citizens to reenter society,“ said Elain Ellerbe, founder and president emeritus of Refined By Fire Ministries, Inc., the Louisiana Department of Corrections’ nonprofit partner in this effort. “By providing our men and women who are returning home with appropriate clothing to go on job interviews or attend religious services with their families, we are giving them confidence and assurance that they can be successful after leaving prison.”
Men’s Wearhouse reps said the company will donate cash to the cause as well with a little help from social media. They are asking the public to spread the word by sharing the #giveasuit post on Facebook and Twitter. For every share, the company will donate $1 (up to $25,000) to local non-profit partners.
Clothing requirements include:
• Gently used, clean and on a hanger please
Items collected (men and women’s attire):
• Suits and sports coats
• Dress shirts
• Dress shoes
Ties/ belts/ accessories
• A 50 percent discount coupon toward a future purchase at Men’s Wearhouse, excluding shoes, clearance, custom and Exceptional Value items
• Tax receipt for donated items