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My Best Friend’s Closet began in 2011, when women receiving support from another Making Changes program, The Walk-In Closet, asked if help was available for their daughters. Both programs offer low-income women and girls 90-minute image consultations, often after they’ve been referred from another social agency in town. After getting to know the participant, a volunteer helps them pick out gently used or new clothing to prepare for job interviews, enter the workforce or attend school. Adds Coutts, “They’re invited back for a second appointment at the end of that year, so they can get more clothing if they need the support.”
Last year, the program saw 537 consultations, and although the pandemic has temporarily lowered demand for the program’s services, “I think we’ll see a huge influx of demand when girls go back to school,” says Coutts.
Given the organization will be facing the influx imminently, there are many ways to help support My Best Friend’s Closet and its work. People can make a donation on the Making Changes website (makingchangesassociation.ca), donate clothing, or buy a gift card at any retailer in Southcentre Mall, as $5 from every $100 gift card will be donated to My Best Friend’s Closet, or donate clothing. While the shopping centre is unable to accept physical donations due to the pandemic, it has set up an artistic installation in the mall to generate awareness for the program.
“Southcentre Mall is committed to generating awareness for My Best Friend’s Closet and we encourage Calgarians to join us in giving back to the youth in our community as the back to school season approaches,” says Alexandra Velosa, Southcentre’s marketing manager.