Working Gear- giving unemployment the boot!
Last week- we were able to travel to Vancouver's East Side, just beyond Gastown and visit the crew at Working Gear Clothing Society. They're a charitable non-profit society, providing unemployed men the clothing and gear they need to get back in the workforce.
When we heard that quality work boots were high on the list of immediate need, there was no debate that we would step in and help.
Its just a small space, although every inch of their 'store' being put to good use. Racks of suits and dress shirts, in every colour and size, line the walls of the tiny rooms along the hallway.
Once, these were used for monitored safe injections, but now act as sort of shopping departments. Gentlemen in need are aided by the beaming and warm volunteers, filling the role of stylist and personal shopper, helping ensure proper fit and giving advice on ties and pattern pairing.
The founder (or volunteer number one, as he refers to himself) of Working Gear, Stephen, cracks jokes with the three young Syrian men, who recently arrived in Canada and secured jobs in ironworking.
He's trying to find something in a 3XL for the youngest, who towers over us at an impressive 6'8". Down the hallway, the buzzing of barber's shears faintly begins to hum when Alysha, another volunteer, starts a cut.
Our newly minted ironworker friend is ecstatic when we find him a few things to fit his frame, including a brand new pair of size 14 Stompers Raindance boots.
It is inspiring to see the immediate change for these guys. Many of us share a similar circumstance to the men who look to Working Gear for help. A couple missed paycheques, one hard setback; that's all it took for the majority of the gentlemen we met with that day, to put them in an uphill battle.
We're thrilled to be a small part of helping these guys get back on their feet, and they seem equally excited to be wearing a pair of Stompers when they do.