Non-profit Helping People Get a Fresh Start in the Workforce Receives a Facelift on CTV on Sunday, February 21st at 8pm PT/ET
Working Gear, a non-profit organization helping those seeking employment to find the clothing and gear they need for the job, is being featured on CTV’s Holmes Family Effect on Sunday, February 21st.
Holmes Family Effect follows TV icon and professional contractor Mike Holmes, his daughter Sherry, and son Michael, as they tackle their most important projects to date. Inspired by people who are making a difference in their communities, each episode sees the Holmes family surprise these deserving people by transforming their spaces.
In Sunday’s episode, Mike Holmes and his family surprise the Working Gear team at their Vancouver shop. With a mandate to relieve poverty, Working Gear provides office and industry clothing free of charge to help low income and unemployed individuals in the Lower Mainland find work. Working Gear’s team of volunteers, led by Director Sarah Beley, help clients find anything from construction clothing and steel-toed boots to business casual attire and suits.
“We’re so excited to be able to share our story and highlight the work we’re doing in the community,” said Sarah Beley. “Working Gear operates on a shoestring budget and we’ve had our fair share of struggles over the years. To have the Holmes family tell us they’re proud of the work we’re doing, and give us their support, was incredible. It was a truly unforgettable experience.”
The episode airs on Sunday, February 21st at 8pm on CTV. For more information on the show, visit: https://www.bellmedia.ca/the-lede/tv/ctv/holmes-family-effect/.
Episode Images: https://review.bellmedia.ca/view/43104806
Episode Promo Videos: https://review.bellmedia.ca/view/640387226
We’re excited to announce Express Employment Professionals as the Title Sponsor for this year’s Gear to Give fundraiser, as well as a new primary sponsor for Working Gear!
Express Employment‘s sponsorship of Gear to Give is part of The Impact Project, an initiative of the company’s philanthropic committee, designed to give back to nonprofits nominated by franchisees among their more than 800 franchise locations.
“I’m honoured to be a part of a company that believes so strongly in giving back to communities,” said Brent Pollington, owner of the Vancouver Express Employment Professionals franchise “Working Gear holds a special place in the heart of our team at Express and we’re excited they were selected to receive this donation.”
They’re such a perfect partner for Working Gear Clothing Society, with a vision: “To help as many people as possible find good jobs by helping as many clients as possible find good people.” Their impact is immense, “Express has put more than 5 million people to work worldwide.” We couldn’t be more excited to have them help the deserving men who turn come to Working Gear for extra support. Check out Express Employment Professionals’ website for more information, and let us know if you or your company may also be interested in getting involved with Working Gear.
Thank you to Brent Pollington, and everyone at Express Employment Services! Together, we can help 1000+ men return to the workforce in 2018!
Tickets for our annual Gear to Give fundraiser will become available in the coming weeks, and the event will be held on June 21st at the Vancouver Club.
100 Women Who Care Vancouver selected Working Gear as the winning charity to receive a donation of $10,000 on their November 20th, 2017 meeting
Who are 100 Women Who Care Vancouver?
They are a group of 100+ Vancouver women who raise $40,000+ a year for local charities in four hours over the course of a year. Four times a year they bring together 100 (or more) women in Vancouver who care about local community causes and who are committed to community service. The women meet for an hour and jointly select a local charity or not-for-profit organization. Each woman then writes a $100 cheque to the selected organization.
Thank you to the 100 Women Who Care Vancouver community for your support of Working Gear
Speaking from a telephone at Union Gospel Mission, John Wright’s positivity is infectious. Bright, intelligent and soft-spoken, the 61-year-old is a bit of a Renaissance man. His resume reports that he is a trained Red Seal chef, a lifeguard, and he has worked at several universities. But, with the pressure to succeed came the pressure to use. John started drinking early, then was introduced to marijuana and later succumbed to cocaine addiction. After using for 35 years, he has now recovered — clean and sober — and relearning how to live his life.
For Wright his journey toward health has been long, involving many steps and including an appointment at Working Gear Clothing Society. The non-profit provides trade appropriate clothing at no cost to low-income men who are looking for work. These are men who are job-ready, but lack something as simple as a pair of work boots or even a suit and dress shoes for an interview. Men are referred to the organization through social services, given an appointment time and are then fitted.
Wright recalls walking into the shop four months ago, hoping to get some work clothes to help land a job. At the time he was looking for steel toe work boots, and unfortunately, went home empty handed. There weren’t any size 12s in the shop – there were hardly any even there. Wright’s need was all too familiar for many unemployed, yet work-ready men. Steel toe boots are expensive, and almost impossible to purchase when you’re on social assistance.
However, after his fitting, Wright did walk away with work pants, a work coat, two shirts, socks – everything he needed except steel toe boots. A few days later, Working Gear located that illusive size 12, but after an assessment, Wright’s arthritic knees couldn’t handle the damp of working outside, so the boots went to someone else in need. That’s something that makes Wright happy. “When you are starting out it’s great to have Working Gear to get you going,” he says.
While working in construction is not in his future, Wright currently has his sights on the pest control industry and is studying to take an exam. Wright says, “I’m taking it nice and slow. Sometimes you can get tripped up very fast. I want to go down the right path.”
Wright is hoping that he’ll find his new employment home soon. “It’s very important to men to work. It keeps you occupied. Keeps your mind going in the right direction. By keeping busy, you keep your hands out of trouble.”
When asked where he sees himself in five years, you can hear Wright smile on the other end of the phone. He’s still a passionate chef and has some culinary tricks to try out on willing appetites. He’s also looking forward to reuniting with his family.
“The spring is coming — then it will be time to spread my wings,” says Wright.
And, Working Gear will be there.
In the early fall, Working Gear Clothing Society embarked on a campaign called “No Small Feet” with the goal of eliciting 400 pairs of steel toe work boots from the community by the end of the year. So far, they have collected 331 pairs and have seen over 580 men come through their doors. The small non-profit also attracted the attention of WorkSafeBC and began a partnership. Together they hope to get the word out to ensure work-ready men obtain functional clothing to keep them safe on work sites.
More information on Working Gear Clothing Society and the “No Small Feet” campaign can be found online at www.workinggear.ca.
It’s a fairly typical day at Working Gear Clothing Society. Unemployed men, referred to the non-profit, arrive at appointed times to be fitted for work-appropriate attire needed to obtain work. The society provides suits and construction gear including steel toe boots free of charge to work ready men.
“Our steel toe boots are always in high demand and they are the first to go when men have a fitting,”says Working Gear Board Member Lani Johnson. “On average a new pair of boots can set a man back close to $200 and that is just not affordable for men on welfare or social assistance and needing gear.”
This fall Working Gear Clothing Society launched a campaign called “No Small Feet” in the hopes of raising 400 pairs of steel toe boots by the end of this year. The drive caught the attention of CBC radio’s Early Edition who did a feature on a Working Gear client who was unable to find any boots in his size. He left empty handed.
The news story was heard by Gail McQuhae of Newlands Systems – a division of Accent Stainless Steel Manufacturing in Abbotsford. McQuhae knew immediately that she and her team of welders and support staff could help this specific cause. She says, “This was a tangible way in which our team could help out men less fortunate.” Newlands Systems later donated close to 100 pairs of boots in either good or perfect condition.
“We are thrilled by the support of Accent Stainless Steel Manufacturing,” says Johnson. “When we launch a campaign we definitely see a rise in donations but we seldom see such a large contribution from one organization. We service so many men that donations of boots go out the door as quickly as they come in.”
Johnson shares that it’s because of business organizations like Accent that have kept Working Gear Clothing Society’s doors open. Now the non-profit is reaching out to the business community in the hopes of finding partners that will be able to help support on an on-going basis with much needed boots. Earlier this year the small non-profit, run completely by volunteers recently attracted the attention of WorkSafeBC. The company is now partnering with the non-profit to ensure work-ready men obtain functional clothing to attend an interview and to keep them safe on work sites.
More information on Working Gear Clothing Society and the “No Small Feet Campaign” can be found online at www.workinggear.ca.
As Andrew Frederick folds and stacks a pile of men’s coveralls he looks like any other young retail worker. But looks can be deceiving. After two years of battling ups and downs, Andrew started his life over in Vancouver where he was closer to his family, and in a city that would provide opportunities to help him achieve his goals.
But starting over wasn’t exactly easy, and when faced with potential job opportunities Andrew didn’t have the finances or the resources to buy interview appropriate clothing. Soon he found himself knocking on Working Gear Clothing Society’s door.
“I came to Working Gear to see about getting some clothing for job interviews. I was fitted by the volunteers and walked away with a suit, shirt and even a Hugo Boss tie. It was a great experience and very encouraging,” says Andrew.
Working Gear Clothing Society provides trade appropriate clothing at no cost to low income men who are looking for work. These are men who are job ready, but lack something as simple as a pair of work boots or even a suit and dress shoes for an interview. Men are referred to the organization through social services, given an appointment time and are then fitted.
Shop coordinator Aphroditi Dinatis helped Andrew with his fitting. She says, “Andrew is a very intelligent young man. He is driven and suiting him up and seeing him with new and appropriate clothing to attend his job interviews is really the pay-off for us. It’s what Working Gear is all about.”
Since his appointment Andrew has secured work in the restaurant industry and hopes to one day return to school and be trained in technical web design. He has a solid five-year plan and there is a genuine excitement in his voice as he shares it.
Today he is paying it forward, volunteering alongside Aphroditi at Working Gear, helping organize the shop for clients with similar needs. He admits that his parents have been a bit shocked and thrilled at all his changes. His volunteering is just one outward example of the transformations within.
“It’s good to help out,” says Andrew. “I know how tough it is to get back on your feet and if I can be there to help, then others can see it’s a good thing to do too.”
Since he’s been volunteering at Working Gear he has seen what clothing is in high demand for job-ready men. “The store has lots of suits from sizes that fit me, a smaller guy, to men’s big and tall. There is a suit for everyone. They could however use more steel toe boots and construction gear,” says Andrew.
Aphroditi says, “It’s too expensive for our customers to purchase new steel toe boots, especially when they are trying to get their feet under them and find work like Andrew. We’re hoping to help them but we desperately need boots and construction gear.”
Working Gear Clothing Society is embarking on a campaign called “No Small Feet” to elicit 400 pairs of steel toe work boots from the community by the end of the year. The small non-profit has recently attracted the attention of WorkSafeBC who is partnering this year with Working Gear. Together they hope to get the word out to ensure work-ready men obtain functional clothing to attend an interview and to keep them safe on work sites.
More information on Working Gear Clothing Society and the “No Small Feet Campaign” can be found online at www.workinggear.ca.