Dreams to Reality asks for donations to help outfit women for jobs

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JEFFERSON CITY - Dreams to Reality, a local clothing program in Jefferson City, is looking for volunteers and collecting donations of clothing, accessories and shoes for mid-Missouri women who cannot afford the luxury of looking professional.

The United Way organization helps single mothers and low-income women who are searching for jobs or those who simply need to look presentable at their workplace.

Women who are in need of professional clothing are referred to Dreams to Reality through a number of agencies, including local churches, homeless shelters, the Food Bank, the Salvation Army, the Rape and Abuse Crisis Service, among others. After their application is accepted, women schedule an appointment to come by the store and select garments.

"We try to do it very quickly, within a day or if they need it right away, we can try to make arrangements as soon as possible," Lehmann said.

A small team of volunteers are usually around to help the women pick the right clothes for trendy outfits, which they can take home for free.

A Dream to Reality volunteer said the organization tries to stay on top of fashion trends and provides anything from undergarments, shirts, cardigans, blazers, bags, belts to shoes, jewelry and scarves.

Most of the items donated are in excellent condition, but the agency also offers a limited number of new garments. Those are purchased with funds the organization raises during its annual sales events in the spring and fall.

Women are usually allowed to take around 10 different articles that can be mixed and matched to create a neat and clean-cut appearance.

Volunteer and chairman of the board Liz Lehmann said the agency was able to serve 208 women this year and is looking to help more in 2015.

"We try to make every woman that comes in very pampered that hour that we spend with her and leave here feeling more confident and ready to go, feeling very good about themselves," Lehmann said. "It is so gratifying to know you've made someone's day and you've set them on a path to success."

Donations to Dreams to Reality are tax deductible.

People can drop off items at 512 Jefferson Street in Jefferson City, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday and between 9 and 11 a.m. on the first Saturday of the month.