11/29/10 — Clothing drive helps women start over

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Clothing drive helps women start over

By Staff Reports
Published in News on November 29, 2010 1:46 PM

Academic Abundance, a local non-profit organization, recently joined with more than a dozen local businesses and groups to help victims of domestic violence get off to a fresh start with a "Dress for Success" clothing drive.

The organization, which has operated in Wayne County for about a year, collected and donated an entire truckload of work-appropriate clothing and accessories to Wayne Uplift, said its director, Michele Wiggins.

"We could not be more pleased with the results and the amazing efforts of the entire community. We have received an overwhelming amount of clothes, so many that we had to borrow a moving truck," Mrs. Wiggins said.

Wayne Uplift Director Sherry Wooten said the donations will have a great effect on the lives of the women living at Fordham House, she said.

"This will have a major impact for the ladies who are having to re-enter the workforce after departing from an abusive relationship. These clothes will literally make the difference between getting a job and not getting a job or an interview," she said.

Helping women regain their independence after escaping a bad living situation is very important to their ultimate success, Mrs. Wooten said.

"In the future, these women will be able to maintain their households and avoid retrogression due to financial stress," Mrs. Wooten said.

Ken Benton, chairman of the Academic Abundance board of directors, also said he believes the clothing drive will help boost the women's confidence and help them get back on their feet.

"Our hope is that the clothes received will give the ladies at the shelter that first step toward a successful future," he said.

The group became involved with Wayne Uplift after providing job skills training seminars to the Women's Empowerment Group. Then, they took it a step further by helping the women prepare for their job interviews by being able to dress appropriately.

The clothing drive surpassed its contribution goals, she said.

Academic Abundance completed the clothing drive on Nov. 6. The drive was held throughout the month of October to honor Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The group collected so much clothing that Wayne Uplift chose to share some of the items with the Wayne County Department of Social Services to help serve other women in a workforce training program.

Many organizations and businesses helped make the drive a success, and Mrs. Wiggins extended special thanks to Ross Clothing, CATOs, JC Penney, BB&T, Academics Plus, Mount Olive College, the City of Goldsboro, the United Way, MERCI House, Crowder Drywall, Wachovia Bank of Ash Street, Academic Abundance board members and many others, including the many individuals who donated clothes and other items.

To learn more about Academic Abundance, call 581-7433.