With many residents struggling financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Women's Center located in Greater Lansing is offering a closet for women to come in once a month and pick out professional clothing, free of any cost.
The center is also offering resources and services such as counseling, support groups, etc. in a safe environment to insight growth for women of all intersectionalities and uplift them.
Student intern Emily Springer said a major part of what the center does is empower women and make them feel confident in themselves with what they are wearing.
“We take people upstairs and they are able to either pick out two shirts, two pairs of pants, two business suits, a matching jacket and pants, a skirt or maybe a dress,” Springer said. “We ask that people come in once a month or every few weeks ... so everyone has access to it and we don’t run out of clothes too quickly.”
Springer said there are a lot of people in the community who come from low-income backgrounds who can’t always afford nice business clothes from major department stores.
“We are hoping with the center that women can come in, find a few outfits that they feel confident and comfortable working in,” Springer said. “They can go back out in the workforce and feel confident for their jobs and be like 'yeah I got this.'”
The Women's Center of Greater Lansing has been committed to empowering women since 2005. The center provides personalized services, including resume and cover letter creation, interview preparation, budgeting sessions, application assistance and counseling to help women achieve financial stability.
Residents are welcome to drop off any donations at the center or to Christian Services; a network of churches that accepts clothing donations.
“We are asking people to come on in who need the clothes to come and get some because our closet is currently full,” Springer said. “A lot of people over COVID I think we're able to go through their closets ... and give it to women who need it.”
Office coordinator Courtney Sobleskey has been running the closet since January of 2020.
“I will take them up and tell them how it works as far as what they can pick,” Sobleskey said. “We will get them underwear, socks and bras if we have it in their size and get all of their clothing together, come down and we'll bag it all up for them.”
Sobleskey said that women don’t have to have a job interview or business professional job to come in and use the closet. Even if it is just to wear around the house to get yourself up and take care of yourself in that way, Sobleskey said the closet is open for women who need those clothes as well.
“It’s usually business casual to business professional so we have a lot of suits and suit jackets but we also have just slacks and nice shirts,” Sobleskey said. “I think that helps the women because, like I said, when you look good, you feel good.”
Sobleskey said that they ask any women who want to shop the closet to come in at least 30 minutes after they open, and come in an hour before they close so they have enough time to look around the closet.
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