Volunteer Stories

Working Gear – “a place where clients feel welcomed, pampered and cared for”

We had the opportunity to meet Maria Juana Aristizabal, one of the volunteers at Working Gear. Maria regularly volunteers at our shop and helped organize this year’s Gear to Give gala. This year’s event raised approximately $48,000 thanks to our hard-working volunteers, attendees and sponsors. 

What is your title within the organization & how long have you been involved with Working Gear?

I am a volunteer and part of the fundraising committee. I have been involved for six months. I am motivated to help with this cause because I have been very fortunate in my life and haven’t experienced any significant setbacks, so it makes sense to me to help others. 

What motivates you to help this cause?

This cause in particular spoke to me because it’s about giving people opportunities, something I have been given many times in my life and therefore I know how important they can be in setting you in the right trajectory. This cause also seemed like something relatively simple that could make a huge impact in people’s lives. 

How much of an impact do you see Working Gear is making in the community?

As a volunteer I have seen men and women from all walks of life light up with new clothing/gear that allows them to get that job. This clothing/gear is not only a practical tool but a vote of confidence in themselves. I have been given many hugs from our clients who are just so glad a place like ours exists – a place where they feel welcomed, pampered and cared for. 

What can you tell potential donors or partners about this organization? How will their money/ donations contribute to your cause?

Donors need to understand that we need relatively little to make a huge difference in others’ lives. Many of us see clothes as disposable and we take it for granted that we can go and buy more when we need to. But many people can’t, and what is really sad is that this prevents them from being able to work. We all have extra clothes (and potentially) gear to give. If people only knew the stories of the people we help and how big of a difference it makes in their lives, I am convinced that everyone would be happy to contribute. 

Special thanks to Maria Juana Aristizabal for sharing her story with us. 

Working Gear is always looking for motivated individuals interested in volunteering with us. For more information about how to get involved, please contact our volunteer coordinator


  • Just a few hours of your time will allow us to continue to empower hundreds of men per year on their path to financial independence
  • Opportunity to get involved and make a direct impact on men’s lives in your community
  • Establish long lasting relationships with people from diverse backgrounds working towards a common cause

Photo by: Maxine Bulloch

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