It’s well documented that as we get older we look back on life and consider the things we did. We measure it not based on the things we had but the people we came in contact with. We are hard-wired to remember things connected to humans. Perhaps it is because our ancestors relied on others to survive and prosper.
On the surface, modern society does not value the community as it once did. But this is not the entire story. When we offer assistance, we feel a sense of worth. Sometimes it just takes an opportunity to give which allows us to enrich our own lives by helping others.
“I’m reminded that no matter how hard we try, nothing we do is in a vacuum.”
― Mike McIntyre, The Kindness of Strangers
Congratulations on making the decision, or at least considering to offer kindness to a stranger. We give you permission to brag it up and celebrate it. We certainly do. We believe you have found the right place. Here is why Working Gear is the right choice for your donation.
Not a handout, but a hand up
Working Gear is a very special organization. It takes discarded clothing, skills of volunteers, and donated dollars and turns them into life tools. We provide hard to come by, high-quality clothing and footwear essential for attaining and holding work to the men who desperately need it.
Our clients are motivated to make a new start. No matter what life circumstance caused them to fall down or why they are under-employed, we believe in their ability to take what we can offer and run with it. Our success stats may be anecdotal, but very compelling.
The thing which is so rewarding about Working Gear is our volunteers and partner organizations are very motivated to give our clients everything they will need for continued success.
Clients receive our volunteers’ empathy and skilled advice along with their clothing. Styling, hair cuts, and personal stories are all valued tools to launch their success. Clients get more than a suit, it’s a suit fashionably styled. It’s not a work shirt, it’s whatever they need for several days of work. It’s not a handout, we are providing a helping hand up for people referred to us who are ready to change their lives.
Our Clients Stories
Due to the nature of our work, our donors will likely never meet the people whose lives they change. We let you see them through the words of our volunteers and partners. We have many stories to tell, and many volunteers eager to share them.
We once helped “three young Syrian men, who recently arrived in Canada and secured jobs in ironworking. There they were. [ I remember ] He was trying to find something in a 3XL for the youngest, who towers over us at an impressive 6’8″… He was ecstatic when we found him a few things to fit his frame, including a brand new pair of size 14 Stompers Raindance boots.” – Viberg Boots, Partner Company
“Many of us share a similar circumstance to the men who look to Working Gear for help. A couple missed paycheques, one hard setback; that’s all it took for the majority of the gentlemen we met with that day, to put them in an uphill battle.” – Lani Brunn, Volunteer coordinator & Board of Directors
Clothing holds a powerful connection. One of our volunteers who was collecting boot donations shared this story: “I met an engineer who was seconded to us. As I got to know him I learned that he lost his father, also an engineer and his infant son within about a year of each other. He had his dad’s boots that were almost new and he just couldn’t part with those boots until he met me, what a legacy to his father.” – Tonia Jurbin, Volunteer
Your donations go directly to our clients
There are many great organizations, we do not deny this for a moment. Each has its place and goes about their offering in different ways. For some of these organizations, the path to helping is complicated.
Working Gear is not complicated. We operate on very little. Our administrative team is small and our rent is negotiated to be very competitive. By carefully managing our administration costs any donations, whether financial or in-kind, go directly toward our services.
Of course, from time to time we get a donation which doesn’t work for us. Although they are clothing, not all our donations are suited for our clients. But nothing goes to waste. If a local organization cannot accept the donation we have partner programs who ship such clothing to third world countries. This is something we are very proud of but rarely talk about.
Success By Referral
One of the most powerful facts about Working Gear is we want to help our clients make real, impactful changes. At the best of times, improving a life situation is difficult. We are proud to have a part in those first difficult steps.
Our clients are chosen not by us but by one of our referring agencies. The agencies know our clients and believe they are ready to re-enter the workforce. Clients come to us because they have shown a desire to succeed and we are ready to help.
We only accept clients referred to us from our approved agency list. Anyone can apply to be a referring agent and to do this is free process. This allows us to grow with the needs of the community.
12 Years Strong
Wow, twelve years. It’s hard to imagine that we have been helping men in the community for this number of years. It is also a testament to the fact our business model is sustainable.
In the past 12 years, much has happened. We are firmly integrated into the community and have a network of support systems. Our referring agencies send us those who have a genuine opportunity to move their lives forward. They have a need which fits our ability to help.
Best yet, 12 years means we have a rich history and on more than one occasion a client who has come to us looking for an entry-level job has come back to provide us with insight, to volunteers, or to announce their progression to a higher paying position. It is very satisfying. We are fiercely proud of our part in their success your part in helping us make this happen.
A Final Word
Donations keep the doors open here, they keep our services free, and they support over a thousand men a year. As you consider your donation, know we are more than happy to answer your questions. Here are a few important links:
Are you ready to donate?
Or perhaps you’d like to start with Working Gear’s Annual Fundraiser – Gear to Give. It will be held on June 6th at the Vancouver Club. Click here for more information.