TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Volunteer Florida and Uber announced that the fourth annual Suits for Session service project resulted in the collection of 5,769 items of professional attire.
The clothing will be donated to CareerSource Chipola, CareerSource Gulf Coast, AMIkids Emerald Coast, AMIkids Gadsden and AMIkids Panama City Marine Institute – organizations that are supporting youth and adult job-seekers in the Florida Panhandle striving to enter the workforce after Hurricane Michael.
Donation highlights include:
- Total Women’s Suits Collected: 263
- Total Women’s Items Collected: 3,206
- Total Women’s Accessories (Shoes, Handbags, etc.) Collected: 510
- Total Men’s Suits Collected: 253
- Total Men’s Items Collected: 1,123
- Total Men’s Accessories (Shoes, Ties, etc.) Collected: 414
- Total Items: 5,769*
*This is almost a 40% increase from the 2018 donation total (3,540).
Volunteer Florida CEO, Clay Ingram, said, “We’re overwhelmed by the generosity of Florida’s legislative leadership and state agency heads, as well as our neighbors right here in Leon County. Under normal circumstances, dressing appropriately for job interviews ensures a sense of confidence, but for the people of the panhandle – those who lost so much, if not everything, to Hurricane Michael – these donations also represent hope and the promise of a new beginning.”
Head of Uber South U.S., Kasra Moshkani, said, “We are thrilled that the fourth annual Suits for Session Capitol service project culminated in more than 50 bags of clothing being donated by local residents and picked up by our Uber driver-partners in support of those impacted by Hurricane Michael. We look forward to our continued collaboration with Volunteer Florida and participating in the tremendous work being done in local communities.”
President and CEO of CareerSource Florida, Michelle Dennard, said, “There are many Floridians who may need a little help with their professional attire as they prepare to take an important next step on the path to employment and career advancement. The CareerSource Florida network is proud to support Volunteer Florida’s annual Suits for Session drive to help our neighbors dress for success, particularly those who lost so much in the wake of Hurricane Michael.”
Executive Director of CareerSource Chipola, Richard Williams, said, “We often fail to realize how much the way a person is able to dress impacts how they feel about their chances for success. So many in our region lost everything as a result of Hurricane Michael. Having nice clothes to wear to an interview, to their job, to church, or to a public event is one way to help individuals regain the hope they lost as a part of the disaster that impacted our poor, rural counties. In the aftermath of the hurricane, it is easy to see how much replacing a roof or a car can mean to someone, but I can assure you that the self-esteem, the pride, and the confidence that will be restored through the efforts of Suits for Session will be another important tool that helps our people and our region recover from Hurricane Michael.”
Executive Director of CareerSource Gulf Coast, Kim Bodine, said, “At CareerSource Gulf Coast, our focus is to provide employment resources to our local community at no-cost to them. Suits for Session is tremendous help, allowing us to further aid our community by providing a resource that most cannot afford. Thank you to Volunteer Florida and Uber for both creating this event and including our organization.”
President and CEO of AMIkids Inc., Michael Thornton, said, “As the panhandle continues to recover from the devastation left behind by Hurricane Michael, programs such as Suits for Session make a huge impact.This program provides valuable work-appropriate clothing for individuals in need and helps alleviate any underlying anxiety they may have regarding their employment appearance. We couldn’t be more appreciative for our families that have benefited from this effort by Volunteer Florida.”
Executive Director of AMIkids Emerald Coast, Audra Ray, said, “Suits for Session helped fill in the gap to ensure our students can succeed. We teach them important job skills, but looking good and feeling confident is critical to securing a job. With these clothes, their opportunities are endless. We are so thankful that Suits for Session will help our students reach their full potential.”
Executive Director of AMIkids Gadsden, Debra Rackley, said, “Many families in our service area were severely impacted by Hurricane Michael and other subsequent storms. As a community-focused program, we were able to provide minimal assistance. We are very excited about the efforts of Suits for Session and the benefits it will provide for the citizens of Gadsden County. Helping our students find jobs is only one aspect of the job search – being dressed properly is another!”
Executive Director of AMIkids Panama City Marine Institute, Ron Boyce, said, “Hurricane Michael took out whole sections of low-income housing in Panama City – roofs came off, water soaked everything and eventually, mold began to set in. Many of our students lost everything, including all their clothing. Because of Suits for Session, that’s one less thing that they have to worry about. Now, they’ll be dressed appropriately for job interviews and have the confidence they need to secure work.”
In 1994, Volunteer Florida was established in Florida Statutes to manage national service programs, such as AmeriCorps, and advocate for volunteerism throughout Florida. Since then, Volunteer Florida has evolved to serve as the state’s lead agency for mobilizing volunteers and coordinating donations before, during and after disasters, including managing the Florida Disaster Fund. With $43 million in federal, state and local funding, Volunteer Florida delivers high-impact volunteer programs that are engaging Floridians, transforming communities and making the state a better place to live.
Uber’s mission is to bring reliable transportation to everywhere, for everyone. We started in 2010 to solve a simple problem: how do you get a ride at the touch of a button? More than eight years and five billion trips later, we’ve started tackling an even greater challenge: reducing congestion and pollution in our cities by getting more people into fewer cars.