Dec 22, 2011

Women veterans suit up for job interviews at VOA shopping event

With a little help from Volunteers of America of Illinois, Chicago-area women veterans will be better equipped for job interviews in the new year.

VOA held a 100 percent free shopping event December 17 to provide local veterans with business attire for job interviews. Each of the 50 women who attended was assigned a personal shopper who helped them select two outfits, shoes and jewelry from VOA’s Dress for Success closet, said Michelle Comer, vice president of external relations for VOA.

“It was wonderful to see all of these women come through and find clothing for themselves,” Comer said. “Every woman who left here after shopping had a smile on her face.”

VOA’s Dress for Success closet is stocked through donations, although historically it has contained mostly men’s clothing, Comer said. The closet got a boost when Chuhak & Tecson, P.C. partnered with VOA at the most recent Women Helping Women Mix-and-Mingle. Between the WHW event and Chuhak & Tecson’s Jeans Day on Nov. 11, VOA received 466 pieces of new and gently used clothing and other accessories, more than 50 personal care products and more than $1000 in gift cards and monetary donations—all benefitting women veterans served by the organization.

“The generous donations from Women Helping Women enabled us to beef up our closet and provide an abundance of clothing options to our women veterans,” Comer said. “They will be well equipped for job interviews now.”

In addition to clothing, each veteran who attended the shopping event was treated to a gift bag that included personal care items, mugs donated by the Army and laundry bags. Comer hopes to hold more shopping events in the future.

“One woman who came in had holes in her shoes,” Comer said. “To know that someone was at that point, but was able to come shop through our closet and get exactly what she needed—it’s very rewarding.”