Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring this year, but when exactly’s too soon for spring cleaning? If Volunteer Florida and Uber have anything to say about it, Tuesday was a perfect time to start.
Suits for Session returned to the Capitol Tuesday for its fifth iteration. The annual clothing drive and service project encourages lawmakers, state agency employees, staff and locals to donate their new or gently-worn professional clothes to benefit Floridians in need.
“We are so grateful for all of the generous donations we have received today and we look forward to being able to distribute them to job-seekers in need across our state,” Volunteer Florida CEO Clay Ingram said in a statement.
Since 2016, Volunteer Florida and Uber have donated more than 16,000 articles of clothing across the state. And this year’s drive benefited Dress for Success Tampa Bay, Sulzbacher, CareerSource Chipola, CareerSource Gulf Coast and others.
“Supporting Floridians re-entering the workforce and gaining meaningful employment is a goal we all share and [are] proud to help coordinate in local communities,” said Uber senior public policy manager Stephanie Smith.
Suits for Session collected full suits, blazers, blouses, shirts, pants, dresses, skirts, ties, belts, shoe and handbags.
This year, EFI president and CEO Jamal Sowell and DEM director Jared Moskowitz stopped by to support the drive.
“It’s important that as people try to reenter the workforce that they have professional attire,” Moskowitz told Florida Politics. “So the fact that volunteer Florida has that charitable side to it dealing with Suits for Session is a wonderful program.”
Last year, Lt. Gov. Jeanette Núñez, Attorney General Ashley Moody, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, CEO Jimmy Patronis and others donated clothing.
“My administration is committed to supporting workforce development and removing barriers to opportunity,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said. “I thank Volunteer Florida and Uber for spearheading this event which empowers Floridians seeking to advance their careers.”
Volunteer Florida and more than two dozen partnered groups began accepting donations at the start of the month. But Tuesday, donors can brought their closet-hogging items to the Capitol’s third-floor Rotunda from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Suits for Session 2019 targeted Panhandle communities affected by Hurricane Michael. That drive collected 5,769 items of clothing, more than half of which were women’s attire.