WASHINGTON (7News) — During the pandemic, our community has needed its non-profits more than ever. One local group that's about to celebrate 30 years of helping women get back on their feet.
It's called "Suited For Change" and even during the pandemic, they found a way to continue serving those most in need. When you walk into "Suited For Change" in Northwest DC, it has the feel of a fun day of shopping.
"When women come into this boutique we don't want them to feel like they're having the typical non-profit or charity experience," said Liz Reinert, Executive Director of Suited For Change. "We want them to feel like they're coming into a place where they feel treasured and empowered and we are here for them to serve them."
For example, when Lakina Edwards needed Suited For Change, she and her two children were down and out.
"Encountering domestic violence losing employment and going through homelessness at that time, I was at a really really bad spot. And Suited For Change embraced me despite where I came from and all I had going on," Edwards said.
Suited For Change did what they do best, a trained professional suiter helped Edwards find clothing for a job interview from their boutique of donated items, she also got shoes, jewelry and a handbag.
"It felt like I was shopping with my friends. And that hope brought the confidence and comfort that I needed," she said.
Suited For Change is approaching a milestone, celebrating 30 years of helping women like Lakina in the DC area. This non-profit survived the pandemic by coaching and dressing at least 100 women virtually.
Reinert said what Suited For Change does goes way beyond clothing.
"I can't tell you how many times we hear, I've never worn a suit before. So I think that's part of it, it helps women see themselves in a whole new light," she said.
"It felt like an open door moving to another chapter," Edwards said. "My children are super proud of me they really adore me dressing up in professional gear!"
She now lives in a three-bedroom apartment and has a job with a PR firm.
"If I did it you can do it and you don't have to do it alone!" she added.
On the plus side of the pandemic, a lot of people cleaned out their closets and aren't going into the office as much, so Suited For Change has received a lot of donations, but they can always use more. They hope to be back to full operations soon but will keep covid protocols in place.
Hear from a volunteer: