life after incarceration

CT Communities Asking Residents to Donate Professional Clothes for Men in Need

The Connecticut-based company, Community Solutions Inc., is hosting a clothing drive for adult men and youth programs throughout Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware.

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If you're spring cleaning, you may want to think about donating to a special cause, one that helps men start a new life after they've been released from prison.

Community Solutions Inc. is hosting a clothing drive that supports male adult and youth programs in Hartford, Waterbury, Bloomfield and Meriden. The effort also supports a youth program in Rhode Island and an adult facility in Delaware.

"We're really about creating opportunities for people and empowering people to be the best version of themselves," said Community Solutions Inc. CEO Fernando Muniz.

Throughout the month of May, people are asked to make space in their closet by filling others with any unwanted professional wear including, gently used shoes, pants, ties and blazers. They'll also accept youth casual and athletic wear.

Some of the clothes will benefit men at the Chase Center in Waterbury

"Sometimes they come to our programs with just that one shirt on their back, so it's really beneficial if they're going for treatment or they're going for a job interview that they have clothing that makes them feel a part of their community," said Program Director Carly Tuthill.  

One of Tuthill's clients, Justice Hinton, said these clothing drives make him feel confident in job interviews and motivated to network with his communities. Recently, he got a job as a dispatcher for a towing company. Prior to that, he was to work for a local solar energy business.

"I went to jail for robbery and now I'm just trying to change my life really. I'm just trying to correct my mistakes and not be judged by society and have this follow me the rest of my life," said Hinton.

Like Hinton, Eric Torres said access to professional attire helped him land a job.  

"I got hired. I've been going on a year. I think a lot of people deserve that chance to feel good about themself," said Torres, who lives at the Chase Center.

A family in Bristol has already donated three bags of brand-name clothes and plans to give away more.

"The pile we had here was substantial, jeans and chinos, some button-downs, and a couple of suits. It's something they could wear in the interview and the first day of work," said Michael Drzewiecki.

Community members are also encouraged to donate toiletries, planners, and new undergarments. Those interested can even purchase gifts from CSI's Amazon Wish List or drop off items inside the Webster Bank Building, located at 200 Executive Blvd in Southington.

In June, volunteers will collect the donations and set up a boutique in the Southington office, where facility staff members will shop for their clients' needs and send requested items to Rhode Island and Delaware.

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