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Women's Suit Drive in Steilacoom

Program looks to create an equally successful drive for women's suits

The 1st annual Women’s Suit Drive aims to replenish the selection of women’s business attire for the Suits for Service Members program. Photo courtesy of Mary Findlay

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For military servicemembers, getting ready for the work day includes putting on a recognizable uniform and lacing up boots. They wake up each day knowing exactly what they are going to wear and how to make their attire presentable according to specifically laid-out military standards. After some time, the morning routine becomes habit. For those who are months away from transitioning out of the military and into the civilian workforce, clothing options may be one thing they do not necessarily think about.

Five-and-a-half years ago, Mary Findlay founded the Suits for Service Members program. This 501(c)3 charitable activity program under the Capt. Meriwether Lewis Chapter of AUSA has proven to be incredibly successful, providing nearly 5,000 servicemembers with business attire for potential job interviews. While the program has been wildly successful overall, Findlay knew that getting women's attire donated was going to be a bit of a challenge.

This year, spouses of those serving in the 42nd Military Police Brigade are graciously volunteering their time in the very first Women's Suit Drive. The event will take place Wednesday, Sept. 20, and Saturday, Sept. 23, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Steilacoom Town Hall.

The Suits for Service Members program is located on the second floor of the Hawk Transition Center on JBLM North and currently has more than 20 racks of clothing for men. Findlay is looking to replenish the women's clothing.

"It has been very easy to obtain new and gently used men's (clothing)," Findlay said. "Obtaining women's suits and dresses has been more difficult."

The Suits for Service Members program is run by volunteers, and they encourage the community to donate clean, smoke-free and gently used women's business attire items to the Women's Suit Drive.

Findlay hopes the donations will greatly improve the availability of women's business attire for servicemembers transitioning into the civilian workforce. About six months prior to transitioning out of the military, servicemembers can simply text Findlay and they will receive business attire to assist them in preparing them for their interviews at no charge.

The Women's Suit Drive is supported not only by the 42nd MP Brigade but specifically by Monika Flom, spouse of 42nd MP Brigade Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Flom.

The community is invited to help make this inaugural event a success by dropping off their gently used women's business attire on either day. The donations will not only be greatly appreciated but also will help make the transition from military to civilian life that much easier with a simple donation.

Women's Suit Drive, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sept. 20 and 23,  Steilacoom Town Hall, 1717 Lafayette St., for more information contact Findlay at 757.848.3905

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