Volunteer Stories

Volunteer Spotlight: Alyssa Patuel from Indochino

 

“There is no perfect time to give back…” says Alyssa Patuel from Indochino. “At Indochino we give away all the garments that we cannot sell anymore. We don’t want them to end up in landfills.”

We sat down with Alyssa from Indochino, who invited us to their Vancouver headquarters. We got the opportunity to chat about how they got involved with Working Gear, and also about their initiative to discard garments in a sustainable manner.

Working Gear is grateful to the many corporate partners who help our organization serve 1,000 clients per year. 

How did Indochino get involved with Working Gear? 

We had a deep need for donating the garments that we couldn’t resell as a company, and we wanted to make sure that these garments found a good home. At the same time, we wanted to find a local non-profit that aligned with Indochino’s corporate mission to inspire confidence. So when we found out about Working Gear aim to provide individuals with the clothes they need to get back on their feet, forming a partnership made perfect sense.

What do you do as Operation Specialist at Indochino? 

One of the roles of the Operations team is to make sure end-of-life of product is taken into account, which is why donating garments is so important. If we were to discard the garments, we’d want to make sure they are discarded sustainably. Fortunately we don’t need discard the garments, we donate everything. It’s a huge initiative for the company and for my team. 

So we know you donate a lot of garments, but you also you encourage other people working at Indochino to volunteer. How did this initiative start? 

When I initially got involved with Working Gear, I wanted to find out what the organization needed and how they could potentially grow.

To raise funds, we donated a custom suit for their auction at their annual Gear to Give fundraising gala. We also had an office sample sale to raise additional funds.

They also needed personnel resources. We have great people working at Indochino, and there was interest from the team in getting involved with the community. We set up a volunteer session for Indochino employees to help suit up Working Gear clients. The turnout was great so I made posters to call for even more volunteers. I started going more regularly and people joined me. “Indochino Night” is now a monthly event.

I feel like it has changed my life to get out on the community more and I think it has made a difference in the colleagues who joined me. I definitely recommend it as a workplace initiative.

Since you’ve been volunteering, what do you think about Working Gear?

Working Gear creates a safe space for people who are not far from being on the streets. The heart and soul of that is Sarah who runs the organization. Through its referral program, they provide clothing to people who wouldn’t necessarily have the resources to find the right clothing to get a job. 

Working Gear transforms the life of people when they put on a suit or when they find the gear they need to go to that job. I feel so fortunate myself, I can’t imagine the feeling of not feeling adequate, and I think wearing the right clothing provides a whole new level of confidence for people. There have been a couple of instances when we give guys clothing and they say: “this is so amazing; you just don’t know what this means for me”. They are so thankful. It’s not easy to take charity. I feel so privileged to be in a position to be able to give back.

What would you say to others who could join as sponsors or volunteers? 

Sometimes people wait for the right opportunity to give back, but there is no perfect opportunity. Anything you can do at any time makes a difference. 

 

We’d like to extend our sincere gratitude to Alyssa for reaching out to us. For putting in the volunteer hours every week and for encouraging her team to do so as well. You are a valuable member of our community. 

Also, we’d like to extend our gratitude to Indochino for their continued support over the years. 

Working Gear is always in search of like-minded companies to develop partnerships with. For more information on how you can get involved contact us at info@workinggear.ca.

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