The Closet will dress students in need

Women’s business casual wear hangs on racks in The Closet, located inside of the Pirates’ Cove.

The Closet, located in Pirates’ Cove, is scheduled to open on Sept. 25 as a resource for students in need of professional attire or warm winter clothing.

Pirates’ Cove will no longer only offer free snacks and groceries to students, but will also offer free professional clothing.

“If you’re not comfortable in the mirror, how can you be comfortable in an interview?” Tuan Vo, administrative assistant for Pirates’ Cove and CARE said. “I want to give back that power.”

Vo said he is an advocate for mental health adding that when students have the necessary tools and supplies to succeed, they feel better and as a result do better.

As someone who benefited from the community growing up, Vo said he understands the importance of community assistance and the importance of reaching out to those who won’t always ask for help.

Professional apparel may be a luxury to some students and the lack of professional clothing might discourage a student in a job interview, college acceptance meeting or any professional meeting setting.

The guidelines aren’t finalized yet, but The Closet is a walk-in resource available to all students with an Orange Coast College student ID. Unlike Pirates’ Cove, The Closet can only be used once a semester by students.

For students who struggle with housing, The Closet will have warm winter clothes and sleeping bags available upon request to those with a student ID. The Closet will not require proof of needed assistance.

“I serve people who are just like me,” said Allison Cuff, staff assistant at CalWORKS. “I’m a single parent, I’m low income, I work a lot and I’ve worked through so many experiences in my life.”

As a person who just earned her associates degree and as the head of student homelessness on campus, Cuff said she has plenty of experience to guide her with helping those in similar situations. Though they require a student ID, Cuff says that no one in need will ever be turned away.

Hygiene products such as deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, razors and menstrual products are also free resources available to students at The Closet and Pirates’ Cove.

The Closet is taking donations of gently used professional garments all semester from anyone who can do so.

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