The 10th Annual National Suit Drive is now underway to help releasing offenders look for a job and be dressed for the part. Founder and president emeritus of Refined By Fire Ministries Elain Ellerbe says they have partnered with Men’s Wearhouse and the Department of Corrections to collect gently used professional wear and distribute them to former inmates. She says this gives individuals released from prison the confidence and assurance to be successful.

“To not only go on job interviews but a lot of times when they get home they want to go to church, they want to go see their family and they really want to present themselves well and show the new person that they are.”

The annual effort is known as the Michael Ellerbe Legacy Suit Drive as Elain’s husband was the former pre-release director at Dixon Correctional Institute. Ellerbe says this is the chance for the public to contribute to a person’s reintegration into society.

“To be able to help them get out, get on their feet, and become, as Michael would always say, to turn them from a tax burden to a taxpayer. Well this is the opportunity.”

Over 16,500 individuals are released from prison into Louisiana communities each year. Ellerbe says they collect both men and women’s professional wear from suits and sports coats to ties and other accessories. She says wearing a nice business outfit to a job interview makes a big first impression.

“And it’s just all the difference in the world when they put that suit jacket on and say I am changing.”

If you would like to donate and are not located new a Men’s Wearhouse, contact your district probation and parole office.