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After being able to go through “my closet”, I grouped things on things to discard due to being old/damaged, things to sell, things to keep, and things to donate. And the things to donate I separated in things to donate to other cd/tg individuals (taking them to the local LGBT center where three different cd/tg/ts groups meet) and things to donate to the local chapter of the “Dress for Success” charity.
I donated to them in the past, and I was familiar with their main objective: Provide women trying to enter or return the work force with clothes appropriate for a job interview. My previous donation was in late 2020, so it was pretty much just a drop off of my donation. But by checking their site I saw they have been operating “normally” for a few months now, so yesterday I dressed up nicely and loaded my donations in a couple of containers and went to their location.
I parked and got to the door, rang the bell, and an incredibly nice lady (Ms. Rhonda, the manager) came and opened the door and I let her know I had some items to donate. She asked me to park in front of the entrance and while I was doing so she called for other ladies to come to assist. Once I parked and opened the rear hatch in my suv, they promptly grabbed both 25 gallons containers and loaded them on a dolly and took them inside.
Ms. Rhonda asked me to step in so I could fill in the donation form, but before that we went to the next room where they were getting all the contents out so I could have my containers back. There were many comments about how nice several of the items were and how some were “new with tags”.
Anyway, I completed the donation form, and Ms. Rhonda thanked me and asked me if I had some time to tour the facilities, and I of course said yes. They recently moved from a much smaller location and the new one has about 5,000 sq/ft! So, they have the main area where they bring the ladies who are trying to find a job and they allow them (and advise them) to select one great outfit for a job interview. And they are also gifted a pearl necklace for luck!
Shall they get hired, they can return and be provided with 5 more outfits appropriate to the position they were hired for. From an office environment, to scrubs, to kitchen or services clothing and shoes.
And they also offer training in several marketable skills, and seminars to help women in different areas, work and community related.
They have a “boutique” section where they have all items of higher quality donated by different stores, estate donations, etc. which includes designer clothes and shoes. They sell these items for very low prices and the profits go to support and fund their operations.
All and all, the tour lasted anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes… near the end of it, Ms. Rhonda gave me some literature and forms to fill if I was interested in volunteering either in mentoring other women, or by working part time at their location. And invited me to join them in September at their main fundraiser event, their “LBD ball”. It was such a nice conversation all the time, and I was really inspired by all of what they do!
At the end, we said our goodbyes with her invitation to come again, and a warm hug!
So, personally… does it matter if at some point she thought I was a woman or if she knew from the first time she saw me that I wasn’t? Sure, it would have been nice… but in reality, the most important thing and the best feeling was that of being fully accepted! Whatever she may have thought about my gender, it was irrelevant. She treated me like I’m sure she would have treated any other lady making a donation, and for that, I’m thankful to her (and her staff)
Definitely one of my best experiences. (Link to the photo before leaving on my way to the donation place: What I was wearing
*** Update 20May22 ***
A quick update!
I am off the phone talking to Ms. Rhonda from “Dress for Success”. She wanted to know if I may be available to volunteer for basic computer training during the Summer, for two weeks, daily from 8-10 am.
I wish so much that I could do it! But I really just can’t! It would mean having to take those two weeks off from my job, and well, it would be a logistics nightmare! So I had to decline, sadly… * sigh *
But we agreed that I would call her at any time if I had some time either for coaching or for fundraising. So, we will see!!
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