By Jasmine Cabrera
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – Camden County College kicks off its eighth annual Suit Yourself Drive, an event where students will be able to shop for career appropriate attire that’s been donated by members of the CCC community for free.
The event is organized by Jacqueline Beamen, an English professor and graduate of the college who had an interest in starting up the drive because of her experience as a student.
“I was a student here and I remember not having or needing interview appropriate clothing when I was going on job interviews and I had jeans and everything was casual so I didn’t have the money because I didn’t have a good job to go out and buy brand new clothes,” Beamen said.
The idea also was sparked by a company she had worked at. The organization ran a drive called Dress for Success, which prompted her to combine the two ideas and create a similar event at the college.
Beamen said each year donations increase and now people just look for it.
“I get donations dropped off even before we start advertising that we need them, so it’s become kind of the norm,” she said.
Already a dozen bags filled with shoes and about three large closet size racks filled with clothes have been donated. Beamen noted some people donate new materials that still have the tags on them and have never been worn.
Jennifer Hoheisel, a philosophy professor for 15 years, donated clothing to the drive this year and said she has donated in previous years as well.
“I’m happy to share and donate and also there’s some things I have that don’t fit me like they used to or I don’t wear them as often and I’d rather see them get used by somebody where it could be beneficial,” Hoheisel said.
Beamen said she gets emails and phone calls from students who reach out to express thanks.
“Not everyone who takes something reaches out to me but I’m just grateful to have one or two people do and it just makes it all worthwhile. If I just help one person then it’s worth it,” she said.
Students can come in and take what they need.
“Usually we say one suit or outfit per person but if they really need it we’re always willing to give them more,” Beamen said.
Thomas Kohut, a student on the Blackwood campus, said he likes the idea of the Suit Yourself Drive.
“If it’s saving students money than it’s helping us by default,” Kohut said. “I assume most of us don’t have money lying around just to throw around. Formal suits and such tend to cost a little bit.”
The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 21 to 23 in Room 202 of the Otto R. Mauke Community Center on the Blackwood campus. The donation deadline is March 10 but items will still be accepted until the event. Students can contact Beamen at 856-227-7200, ext. 4370 with any questions.