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Philadelphia Nonprofit, The Wardrobe, Starts New Program To Help Formerly Incarcerated

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The next time you clean out your closet, you might want to consider donating to this local organization. It has a long history of helping those in need throughout the Delaware Valley.

And now it's expanding.

"I try to put them in colors," Tameka Young, the outreach coordinator at The Wardrobe, said. "I'm a fan of colors. colors bring out personality."

Young is no stranger to success stories.

"He put on a suit. He started shaking," Young said. "He started crying and he just gave me a hug."

She's seen the transformation that's possible.

Simply by helping someone find clothes they can work and live in.

"They just feel like a million bucks," Young said.

That's the mission of The Wardrobe. For 26 years, the non-profit has worked to eliminate clothing insecurity in the Philadelphia region.

And now, The Wardrobe is evolving once again.

"Everything and everyone deserves a second chance," Sheri Cole, executive director of The Wardrobe, said.

The organization's motto has never meant more.

A new program called "Returning Wardrobe" is now outfitting people who need help post-incarceration.

The process can even start just before someone is released.

"We put together a wardrobe box for them, which is a personally styled outfit that they can wear as they leave," Cole said. "Everything from juvenile justice all the way up to state and federal incarceration."

Anyone formerly incarcerated can then make an appointment for more help. The Wardrobe's Philly shop is on North 4th Street.

No referral is necessary and clothing is free of charge.

"He said to his consultant 'I feel like Clark Kent turned into Superman,'" Cole said. "And that's what we do here. We create superheroes."

And none of this is possible without donations. The wardrobe doesn't buy any clothes, so they need women's and men's donations. If you would wear it, they want it.

They take shirts, pants, shoes, even new socks, and underwear.

"They have all the clothing they need, that not only makes them look great to the outside world and release some of that stigma but also makes them feel like they had access to choice, to dignity, to respect," Cole said.

Helping people re-enter their community, find work, and live their best life one outfit at a time.

The Wardrobe's goal is to outfit 1,000 returning citizens this year.

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