Event offers free professional clothing through Evelyn K. Davis Center

Free professional clothing was offered at an event organized by the Evelyn K. Davis Center at the Ankeny DMACC campus, Building 5, on Friday, April 1. Photo by Halle Reynolds.

The Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families held on Friday its first-ever pop-up event for their Men on the Move program, a free community resource that allows men a chance to obtain new and gently used professional attire for building their “career closet” without spending a penny.

The event took place at the DMACC Ankeny Campus in Building 5. Featured were six clothing racks equipped with men’s suits, slacks, and a variety of long and short sleeve professional shirts donated by Mr. B clothing in Clive. Also up for grabs were ties, belts, shoes, undergarments, and toiletries.

Situated across the room were dresses and sweaters donated by Dress for Success — a non-profit in Des Moines offering women a multitude of career placement resources such as job training and suiting for interviews. Feminine hygiene products were also offered to anyone in need.

Pop-up tents were set up behind clothing racks and equipped with full-length body mirrors so guests could try on their style. All clothes were cleaned and steamed prior to the event. 

The center, located at DMACC’s Urban Campus in Des Moines, recently received a new van donated by DMACC for their clothing program, and plans to reach even more communities around the metro by creating a mobile experience for individuals seeking business-clothing.

“The fact is, we have a good number of clients that have transportation barriers. It’s not really [convenient] when you have three suits and you’re trying to get on the bus … We work with our clients. If you live in the metro area, we can make arrangements and get [you] the clothing,” said Evelyn K. Davis Center Director Ahmed Agyeman.

Evelyn K. Davis Center not only prepares individuals to enter the workforce with clothing but also provides aid to those seeking any career or financial-related help. Some other services offered to clients through the center’s programs can be found below:

  •      Financial Empowerment Center
  •     Job Development
  •     Y-EXCL (Youth Excel Into Careers & Leadership)
  •     Workforce Training Academy
  •     Opportunity Passport
  •     Small Business
  •     Non-Profit Support
  •     Education
  •     Parenting

When people seek to utilize one program offered by Evelyn K. Davis Center, they usually end up taking advantage of more than that initial service, according to Agyeman. 

It’s not unusual for someone to walk into the center seeking assistance with employment, and upon further consulting find they are eligible for rental assistance, financial planning, parenting classes, or have access to the center’s very own career closet.

“For the most part I think that our clients will end up receiving two or three services before they leave the building,” Agyeman said.

Though the Evelyn K. Davis Center is located within DMACC, the organization is open to the entire community, not just students. The programs aim to allow families and individuals to work towards self-sufficiency, job readiness, and financial and educational literacy.

“For some of our clients, it could be the fact that they don’t have access to technology…Some of our clients, it could be a language barrier … and sometimes we have clients that are coming in from corrections or incarceration,” Agyeman said. “It’s a community service. I’d say on average we serve about 5,000 folks every year that come in and seek multiple services.”

The Evelyn K. Davis Center’s programs continue to support communities in and around the Des Moines area with their free services. Agyeman expressed contentment after the turnout of today’s event — which ended up serving 83 students within four hours — and is optimistic to see what the program’s capacity will allow for future pop-up events.

DMACC’s fashion program recently donated a sewing machine to the non-profit for making alterations for clients so they don’t have to come out of pocket for the alterations and their clothing can feel more individualized. Evelyn K. Davis is collaborating with DMACC to allow for work-study and volunteer opportunities through the school.

Donations for toiletry and personal care items are accepted at the center, as well as some individual donations for clothing items. Volunteers are welcome to stop by the Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families and help with preparation for clothes to be placed within the career closet or other projects needing an extra set of hands.

Evelyn K. Davis Center
for Working Families
1171 7th Street
Des Moines, IA 50314






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