MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Have you looked in your coat closet recently? Chances are, you may have a winter coat that doesn’t get worn as much as others.

A new Twin Cities partnership is working to Accomplish Minnesota as it aims to get that coat around the shoulders of someone who could really use it.

For nearly two decades, Ready for Success in Minneapolis has dressed low-income men and women from head to toe to get them ready for a job interview.

“It was a big self-esteem boost, for one, because having been out of work you get down on yourself,” said Judy Driver, a client.
The donated suits, scarves, even jewelry helped Driver land a job.

But as the months turn colder, staying warm and looking professional can be a challenge.

“When you first go into a job, you meet someone and probably still have your coat on when you meet them and that’s a first impression,” Driver said.

Most women who can’t afford suits, can’t afford coats either.

“I’ve had women come in who are doubling-up on sweatshirts because they can’t afford a winter coat, I’ve seen women who are roommates who are sharing a winter coat,” said Jennifer Paffel, of Ready for Success. “Living in Minnesota, I think it is a basic need to have a winter coat, especially if you’re using the bus.”

For the first time, St. Croix Cleaners is partnering with Ready for Success. People can drop off their winter coats at any of their locations, where they’ll be cleaned and donated to those who need them.

“That’s how you start your day and you want to start it confidently, so putting on a nice, clean-pressed coat and wardrobe just makes everything better,” said Kelley Nemec, of St. Croix Cleaners.

Job-seeker Mai Xiong is now dressed for success, but her best accessory may be her new-found confidence that makes getting hired seem more accomplishable.

“I got like three bags that I took home, actually my whole outfit I’m wearing today I got here,” Xiong said. “I just had two interviews this last week, so hopefully I will hear something back this next week.”

You can help women like Xiong accomplish their goal of landing the job by dropping-off your gently-used coats at any St. Croix Cleaners locations by the end of the month.  You will receive a coupon for 20 percent off your dry cleaning bill.

More information on Coats for a Cause, click here.