Pat Mihelis of West Akron recently called me to ask if I knew of a nonprofit where she could donate professional clothes from her late husband.
After a little bit of searching, I saw that the Akron Urban League had a Career Clothing Closet where individuals who are going to interview for a job can get one free head-to-toe outfit. Then the person can return after getting the job and get five more outfits.
As timing would have it, the Career Clothing Closet was just about to reopen to the public after closing for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additionally, another organization, Access, is accepting donated fine and costume jewelry for its annual fundraiser. I’ll share details of that in this column.
The closet was exactly what Mihelis was seeking. Her husband of 46 years, Mike, had just died.
“He was from that generation that dressed when you went out,” she said. “He still thought you should do that. He couldn’t imagine going to [a nice restaurant] in jeans and a T-shirt. I have four racks downstairs and two smaller closets upstairs of his clothing. Many still have tags on them. They’re all brand name.”
She plans to donate some to the Urban League and take some to a consignment shop.
Setting job seekers up with clothes
Here are some details about the closet, which is seeking donations:
The closet just reopened to the public last week, said Lynn Puryear, director of workforce development for the Akron Urban League.
“Anyone that needs career clothing, they’re welcome to come over,” Puryear said.
The closet is open from 9-11 a.m. Tuesdays and from 2-4 p.m. Thursdays. No appointment is necessary. The Urban League is at 440 Vernon Odom Blvd., and the phone number is 330-434-3101. It shares a building with Helen Arnold Community Learning Center.
The Akron Urban League is also accepting donations for the Career Clothing Closet from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays. Again, no appointment is necessary. The closet will take clothes for men and women as well as dress shoes, jewelry, purses and men’s ties. Donations are tax-deductible.
“We are currently accepting new and gently worn fall and winter business and business casual attire and accessories,” said Puryear. “We hope that the community will donate clothing and accessories that they’d personally be proud to wear to work. Perhaps they no longer can fit the clothing or downsized and no longer have the space, or their job is now remote, and professional attire is no longer required.” The closet does not have the space to accept casual clothing, jeans or children’s clothing.
People can come back every 90 days for more clothes from the closet.
The Workforce Development division of the Akron Urban League also offers other support services, like job-search tools, and may be able to help provide referrals or resources if someone has a barrier to getting to a job, such as transportation or child care.
Additionally, the Urban League this month is offering free professional development workshops, which are open to the public. They are leading up to a free Job Fair the organization is hosting on Oct. 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. At the fair, job-seekers can network and have on-site interviews with employers. There is also a free resume evaluation, though registration is required for that. Registration is also encouraged for the job fair, where masks will be required. For more information, go to www.akronurbanleague.com/careerfair.
The organization just had a Job Preparation Boot Camp session, but more free job-preparation sessions are available in-person or virtually. All sessions are from noon to 1 p.m. Register at www.akronurbanleague.org/events/job-preparation-workshops.
- Resume and cover letter writing: Sept. 21
- Your personal brand and social media presence: Sept. 23
- Online job search best practices for standing out at hiring events: Sept. 28
- Acing the interview and follow-up strategies: Sept. 30
Access accepting jewelry donations
Access, an emergency shelter for women and children, is hosting its annual Jewelry Box fundraiser, where it sells gently used costume jewelry and fine jewelry. But the event has been changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In previous years, the organization has had a few different parts to its fundraiser, including a happy hour with special tickets, a VIP event and a public event on Saturday. But with the pandemic, the organization decided it can’t host the public event, which usually drew hundreds of people.
This year, there will be the happy hour event from 4-6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 4. Only 120 tickets will be sold for $25 for entry to the event, where all costume jewelry will be sold for $5 apiece, said Joy Raub, Access director of engagement. The event will have a DJ and appetizers.
A separate VIP event, which is by invitation only, will also be held. Additionally, there will be a public online silent auction.
For more information, go to www.access-shelter.org.
The fundraiser relies on donations from the public, which will be accepted through Oct. 1. This year, in particular, the organization needs more fine jewelry, but will also accept costume jewelry.
Also, if you have pieces of jewelry that aren’t pairs — like a solo earring or a broken bracelet with pieces — Access will take those, too. Crafters like to buy bags of pieces for their projects, Raub said.
Jewelry donations can be brought to the Access offices at 230 W. Market in Akron from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Donations are tax-deductible.
Beacon Journal staff reporter Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or [email protected]. Follow her @blinfisherABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/BettyLinFisherABJ. To see her most recent stories and columns, go to www.tinyurl.com/bettylinfisher.