Clothing drive aims to cut Indy’s crime

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Organizers of a clothing drive scheduled for Friday say it could help cut crime in Indianapolis.

The drive is called is S.O.S., which means Send One Suit. It’s an effort by Dress for Success Indianapolis, Harrison College and Classic Cleaners.

Organizers are asking for clothes women can wear to interviews. They say that more people who have jobs means less crime.

This year Dress for Success expects to help 1,300 women from Central Indiana find a job.

Jeronna Bolden, who volunteers at Dress for Success Indianapolis, said a few years ago she needed help after a job fell through.

“That left me and my son in a whirlwind of, of course, homelessness and just a situation where I was at a low level,” Bolden said.

She was in a homeless shelter when someone recommended Dress for Success.

“I was in a valley, and when you talk about confidence, I didn’t have courage anymore. I just didn’t believe,” she said. “And when I came here, they were like, ‘No, you’ve still got to go.'”

That pushed Bolden to start her own business as an image consultant, and now she volunteers at the charity.

“Even the woman I was just helping, she was about to cry,” she said. “I remember I was in that situation.”

To be part of the program, a woman must be referred to Dress for Success. There, a volunteer helps her pick an interview outfit, shoes, jewelry and make-up. When she gets a job, she can return for work clothes.

As a partner in the drive, Harrison College representative Ashley Williams said the school knows the need because 80 percent of their students are women and half are single mothers.

“The women that I send here that I refer to the program are generally graduates,” Williams said. “They still come here because they need that assistance finding that professional clothing. So once they get a new suit, they can go rock that interview and actually gain employment.”

Bolden said she’s a living example of the impact of the organization.

“If you don’t think that there’s an impact going through here, you haven’t been here,” Bolden said.

The drive is 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at 500 N. Meridian St. Donors who miss Friday’s drive can donate anytime at any Classic Cleaners location.

Other Dress for Success partners include WorkOne, The Julian Center and Ivy Tech Community College.

Click here to learn more about Dress for Success Indianapolis or call 317-940-3737.

Click here to learn more about Harrison College or call 317-873-6500.

Click here to learn more about Classic Cleaners or call 317-845-5244.

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