It's more than just a suit. For a homeless veteran looking for a job it can mean everything.
That's why the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans and Principal Financial Group have teamed up with local stock brokers to collect gently used suits to help veterans in need get back into the workforce, WCCO reports.
“It’s much more than just a suit, it’s a possible job, it’s dignity and self-worth,” Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans' Nathaniel Saltz told WCCO.
In 2013, there were about 350 homeless veterans in Minnesota, the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless reports. Of all Minnesota veterans, 5 percent were unemployed in 2013, according to statistics released in March by Sen. Amy Klobuchar. The unemployment rate for veterans who served in active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time since September 2001 was at 9 percent nationally in 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
There have been various suit drives around the state to help these veterans find jobs.
Tailor Judd Frost is also volunteering his services.
“They come back and they need some help, and what better way than to have them get a great suit and gain confidence, have it fit them correctly, we want to take care of them,” Frost told WCCO. “They’ve sacrificed a lot for us, so this is the least we can do for them.”
Chris Hvinden, 33, who served in the Marine Corp for years, returned home in 2010 and has struggled to find a full-time job, WCCO says. He's seen some of the suit donations come in and told the news station that the suits "would definitely give me a sense of confidence walking into an interview."
That's what the organizations are hoping for.
There are similar efforts across the country. A Michigan veteran started a nonprofit, Suits for Soldiers, in 2013 after hearing stories of soldiers not getting hired, although they were qualified, because they weren't dress appropriately.
If you'd like to donate a gently used suit, they can be dropped off at Judd Frost in Wayzata or contact the Minnesota Council for Veterans for more information on the suit drives across the state.