Dressing for Success

Sophia with members of the Friendship House Clothing Bank team

“I love how Friendship House is non-judgmental,” says Cheryl Bryant. “In any situation, anytime, regardless of whatever, we just value the beauty in everyone.”

Bryant is the job-readiness program coordinator at Friendship House in Wilmington, Delaware. The program got its start in the winter of 1986-’87 by helping people in the area who were homeless.

Today, Friendship House provides free clothing for anyone who needs a helping hand. The group also offers temporary jobs and training so that women can get back into the workforce.



“We receive clothing donations from our wonderful community and supporters,” Robin Cross told me during a recent visit to the Friendship House Clothing Bank. Cross, who is the warehouse manager, said that about 200,000 pounds of clothing are donated each year.

Cross and her team inspect the donations to make sure that they’re in good condition. Items are then sorted into bins according to season, gender, clothing type, and size. 

“When we send out clothing, we’re trying to empower our community,” Cross said. “We want whoever is receiving it to feel good about what they receive.”

The Clothing Bank partners with local social service agencies, who identify clients who need clothing, along with the requested sizes.  


Women who are looking to get back into the workforce find help and comfort at Clothing House. 


Participants in the job-readiness program work at the Clothing Bank for up to 15 weeks. During that time, Bryant meets with the individuals to help them craft a personalized plan. They get help with resumes and job interviews. A job board lists positions that are available in the community. 

Friendship House makes a positive difference in Wilmington by providing quality clothing, as well as job training and placement assistance.

“My favorite part is that we serve our community,” Cross said. “Just knowing what the women receive and how grateful they are is amazing.” 


Top photo courtesy of the author; bottom photo courtesy of Friendship House