CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — In stark contrast to last year, Dress For Success Corpus Christi didn’t hold a sale to cut down on inventory, but rather — close out as a result of the pandemic.
“We’ve been around for seven years,” said Cathy Riojas, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the nonprofit. “We’re very proud to say we’ve helped thousands of women and their families on the road to empowerment and self-sufficiency.”
The organization is an affiliate of Dress for Success, a worldwide nonprofit that works to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women and empower them through the means of professional attire and support, including assistance in writing resumes and interview preparation, their website states.
Running only from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Riojas said the money raised will be going toward their rent and utility expenses. Once the pandemic struck, raising money was a challenge.
“Fundraising efforts were hampered with COVID,” she said. “The pandemic really — we had to cancel all of our major fundraisers in 2020 and 2021 and just, the economic climate was just not supporting us and helping us.”
Shoppers passing through and sorting through massive amounts of now-inexpensive clothing found the sale bitter-sweet, as several believed the nonprofit benefited the community.
“I don’t think they should close it, because I know there’s a lot of people looking for work,” said Susan Luna, a 73-year old shopper picking up items for herself and others.
When asked if there was a possibility Dress For Success could one day make a return to Corpus Christi, Riojas said it was unlikely.
“Unfortunately, our board of directors had to make the hard decision to close, but we’re proud of the work that we did for the community,” she said. “It’s just time to close the doors, we’ve had a great turn out, we want to always thank the community, our community partners, referral agencies that always support us.”
A slight silver lining to the closure, some of their efforts will continue through other avenues. Coastal Bend Fairy Godmothers — an organization that aims to provide high school students with formal attire — absorbed Dress For Success’s “Cinderella’s Closet” program.
“Now that we are acquiring ‘Cinderella’s Closet’ through Cathy (Riojas) and Dress For Success, and we are going to be working closely with community and schools to make sure that every student in our area has the opportunity to go to any of their school functions,” said Teresa Hunter with Coastal Bend Fairy Godmothers, formerly known as Rockport's Fairy Godmothers.
Although high school events have significantly lessened as a result of the pandemic, Hunter said her organization is continuing to accept donations of formal wear of all sizes, as well as shoes and handbags. If you are interested in making a contribution, call (361) 463-8325 or contact them via email.