WHITE PLAINS – Leslie Meggett is an Employment Counselor with the Westchester-Putnam One Stop Career Center. She knows first-hand the anxiety that can accompany an impending job interview, and that wearing quality business clothing can give someone the confidence to make their best first impression.
Over the years she and her colleagues have referred their customers to Career Closet to obtain professional clothing at no cost. She works with youth and adults, and reports that many of the people she has referred return to tell her how excited they were to have a great tie and nice shoes for their interview.
Inspired to do more, Leslie discussed the positive impact the Career Closet has had on job seekers with her manager, OJ Yizar, and the two decided to collect clothing amongst the Career Center staff to make a donation directly. They ran the drive from October to November, making the donation just in time for Thanksgiving.
“This was our first year collecting clothing ourselves and it was so well received that we plan on doing it again,” said Meggett.
The staff collected a total of 188 items including dress pants for both men and women, blouses, shirts, ties, skirts, women’s and men’s business suits, sweaters, dresses, coats, shoes and even accessories like belts and jewelry.
Yascara Maldonado, Site Coordinator for the White Plains Education and Training Center, which runs Career Closet, is grateful for the support. Individuals looking for professional clothing must be referred by an agency; there are no walk-ins and each person can put together one outfit for an interview and five additional outfits if they get the position.
“First impressions are so important and the donations we receive can help a person not just for their interview but for ongoing employment,” stated Maldonado. “We accept donations year-round and generally have a shortage in sizes 12 and up,” she added.
The Career Closet, located at 303 Quarropas Street in White Plains, accepts new or gently used business clothing which are then offered to men and women in need. The clothing donated should be in a condition worthy of being worn to a job interview. Items accepted include business suits, pants, jackets, skirts, dresses, blouses, tops and work appropriate handbags and accessories. Clothes should be freshly cleaned or laundered and ironed. They do not need to be on hangers but should be folded neatly and packed in bags or boxes that one person could carry. Handbags should be clean, and all contents removed.
“We see first-hand on a daily basis the difference the Career Closet is making for the job candidates we prepare for interviews and ultimately employment,” added OJ Yizar, Manager of the White Plains Career Center. “It has been extremely gratifying for the entire staff to have collected so many high-quality clothing items that will be put to such good use.”