Dress for Success Austin helps women connect with resources during COVID-19 pandemic

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Many nonprofits are facing a growing demand for help, but not enough aid is available. However, there’s a national movement to help raise money to support local nonprofits through #GivingTuesdayNow.

The national movement falls under the well-known Giving Tuesday, which usually happens in the late fall, but the pandemic has created a need no one expected.

Leaders at one east Austin nonprofit said since the shutdown, they’ve experienced about a 20% spike in calls from women in need of help. Dress for Success Austin Executive Director Mia Johns said they’re working to connect women with community resources.

“People hear Dress for Success and they think about clothes,” Johns said, and she added they are more than that. They provide resources for women including workforce development programs such as job searching, leadership and financial literacy classes.

“That’s what they need and that’s what they’ll continue to need,” she said.

Johns said about a third of the nonprofit’s clients have been laid off or furloughed because of COVID-19, and 60% had less than one month’s expenses worth in the bank. That’s a problem, Johns said, because around 80% of the women they help are the head of the household.

“It’s been difficult for everybody,” she said.

While businesses are starting to rehire, Johns only expects the need to continue growing through this pandemic.

“We have a lot of new clients, new women that know about our services and I am sure we will have a lot more,” she said.

Johns said since the pandemic began, they’ve helped 40 women and about 15 of them were new clients.

At present, the nonprofit is raising money by selling T-shirts.


So far, they’ve sold about 200 shirts and raised a little over $5,000.

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