By Jennifer Rowan – intern at Thread Together
THE POWER BEHIND CHOICE
I have never recognised the correlation that exists between choice and privilege. My mates always remark that I am indecisive and can never make a decision while choosing a dish at a restaurant or choosing which classes I want to enroll in at University. While working with those less fortunate, I have discovered the power behind choice, and that many do not practice choice.
BRIGHTER FUTURES AT THE ADDISON
My very first day at Thread Together, Allan, the operations manager took me to the Addison Clothing Hub. This is the store operated by Thread Together, where one can receive a voucher due to their circumstance and are then granted the opportunity to choose from brand new and unworn clothes. I walked into this shop for the first time with a puzzled expression and numerous questions. This looks like a clothing store that I normally go to, where I have a variety of options and I can try on the different sizes and colors, and then purchase which article fits best for me? That is the beauty of the Addison Clothing Hub.
One main highlight of my time here at Thread Together and a huge privilege has been working with programs, consisting of individuals from different cultural backgrounds. Last week, a group of aboriginal women visited the Addison Clothing Hub from Brighter Futures. As soon as they entered the shop, expressions of gratitude flooded the room. The majority of the women had children by their sides, ultimately making me feel empowered to know I am impacting a whole family. With an array of sizes, colours, styles, and brands to choose from, the women had the choice to design their own wardrobe.
DRAINED FINANCIALLY AND PHYSICALLY
Asides from helping the women pick out brand new clothes, I also had the privilege to speak with many of them. One women has been suffering from MS since she was 20. Unfortunately, this disease has drained her financially and physically, and has affected the stability of her family. She was truly grateful to have the opportunity to shop in the Addison Clothing Hub, especially to provide new attire for her daughter and son.
CREATING A MEANINGFUL BOND AND UNDERSTANDING MORE ABOUT PRIVILEGE
From the many people that visit the Addison Clothing hub, I hope to create a meaningful bond with a customer where they feel comfortable enough to let me assist them in any way possible. I want to inspire the customers, and help them reach a feeling of dignity within themselves and within the new attire they have chosen for themselves. The feeling of checking out a customer and filling a bag with all of their new clothing is extraordinary. Additionally, meeting people from new cultures has opened my mind and broaden my outlook on those that may differ from me. The families were able to leave with dignity. Since the store is designed to match a typical shopping experience, the mothers felt no shame receiving free clothing as the kids assumed they were just shopping with mommy.