Source: Vancouver Sun by John Colebourn
(Photo Credit: Arlen Redekop)

A non-profit society that helps men get geared up to get back in the workforce has been hit hard by the weather.

The Working Gear Clothing Society has an office at Joyce Street and Kingsway, but the ceiling collapsed under the weight of recent snowfalls, destroying inventory and putting their program on hold.

“We are looking right now for a new location,” said John Warrington, a board member of the non-profit.

About 600 men a year are suited up to return to the workforce by the agency. All the men who visit their location are prescreened and then arrive to get a business suit for an office-type job, or things like work boots and hard hats if they are trying to get into the construction field.

“They (can) have work the next morning provided they have work boots and a hard hat,” said Warrington of many of the men who arrive needing some help to land a job. “They are work-ready and simply can’t work because of a lack of clothing. They want to be working.”

The ceiling of the Working Gear office collapsed Feb. 9, and left a large portion of the clothes and items they get as donations damaged and unusable.

The society plans to host the Gear to Give annual fundraiser in May, but with the damage to the office, getting a new location is now the top priority.

Warrington said they are hoping someone with about 1,400 square feet of retail-type space can offer them a reasonable monthly rent.

“Our big urgency is to find a new location,” he said. “Our (present) location is simply unsafe.”

He said once they get a new location they can again start taking in clothing and monetary donations. And Warrington said they are always looking for volunteers.

“Fiscally, we are sound, but we need a new location.”