The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections (DPS&C) announces the sixth annual National Suit Drive in partnership with Refined by Fire Ministries (RBF) and Men’s Wearhouse. Within the Department, the effort will be known as the “Michael Ellerbe Legacy Suit Drive” in honor of Michael Ellerbe who passed away in May. Ellerbe, Director of Pre-Release at Dixon Correctional Institute (DCI), was a pioneer in DPS&C’s offender reentry efforts and played an instrumental role in the partnership with Men’s Wearhouse throughout the years.
Interview-appropriate men’s and women’s clothing will be accepted at participating Men’s Wearhouse locations across Louisiana (see attached list) from July 1 – July 31, 2013. The public can donate gently used and cleaned items such as suits, dress shirts, jackets, dress skirts, outerwear, ties, belts and shoes.
More than 15,000 individuals released from DPS&C custody in 2012 and many of those individuals face huge obstacles making a permanent and successful return to their communities. Having a polished, professional look to make a great first impression is critical to finding a job for those who are trying to get back into the workforce.
“People all across Louisiana made the 2012 Suit Drive our best year ever, donating more than 4,500 items (excluding shoes, ties and belts) to our cause,” said DPS&C Secretary James M. Le Blanc. “It’s empowering to know that the simple gesture of cleaning out your closet and recycling a decent pair of slacks or a jacket that is no longer being worn can be such a difference-maker in someone else’s life.”
Non-profit partner Refined by Fire Ministries, Inc. CEO Elain Ellerbe, who was not only Michael’s wife but his partner working with incarcerated populations for over 25 years, says the six-year suit drive partnership changes lives.
“Michael’s life was dedicated to empowering offenders as they began their journey back into society to become tax payers instead of tax burdens,” Ellerbe said. “A key step to this process is providing these individuals with updated clothing suitable to go on a job interview.”
Ellerbe and Le Blanc encourage non-profits to get involved in collecting appropriate items, as well as the general public. Probation and Parole Officers and DOC staff also work to gather donations in their communities. The public can spread the word on social media. For every National Suit Drive mention on Facebook and Twitter, Men’s Wearhouse will contribute $1 (up to $20,000) to the cause. So help us get the word out!
As a thank you, donors receive a coupon for 50% off the regular price of retail items (excluding shoes, clearance and everyday low price items) for their next Men’s Wearhouse purchase, as well as a tax receipt.
Gently used, clean and on hangers please
Items Collected (Men and Women’s attire):
Suits Sports Coats
Slacks Dress Shirts
Dress Shoes Sportswear
Outerwear Ties and Other Accessories
Donors will receive:
o A 50% discount coupon good toward a future purchase at Men’s Wearhouse
o Tax receipt for donated items