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First Impressions Ministry

First Impressions: A Professional Clothing Ministry


First Impressions is a professional clothing ministry established by Love INC of Columbia and offered through The Love Seat.  First Impressions is designed  to provide job-seeking individuals with the attire necessary to obtain work and function in their occupation. Those looking for work are educated in the skills necessary to obtain and maintain employment. By aiding First Impressions through your time and/or donations you not only provide clothing to those in need, but also facilitate their growth and education in the skills necessary to build stable workplace behaviors. First Impressions focuses on helping those in our local community. By donating to this effort you effectively work to decrease poverty and strengthen the workforce in Columbia, Missouri.

Who does First Impressions help? Any person who is unemployed or underemployed and seeking work. This might include: 

  • Ex-offenders re-entering the Columbia community.
  • Individuals transitioning from shelters, halfway houses, and treatment programs.
  • Refugees arriving in Columbia.
  • Single parents seeking to move from welfare to work.
  • Teens aging out of the foster care system.
  • Other unemployed or underemployed individuals in need of assistance.

In order to receive assistance from First Impressions, each individual must first complete a job search strategies class (career exploration, applications/resumes, interviewing. employee excellence) and/or receive individual coaching in these or related areas through Love INC, a local church or other approved local provider. 

How can I help? 

  • Donations of time:
    • Ask local businesses or individuals for donations of clothing.
    • Volunteer at The Love Seat.
  • Donations of new and gently-used clothing and accessories for men and women:
    • Items needed:
      • Clothing: dress shirts/blouses, pants, skirts, blazers, suits, socks, panty hose, etc.
      • Shoes.
      • Accessories: ties, jewelry, belts and handbags.
      • Unused makeup.
      • Gift certificates to purchase items not available through donations.
    • Quality expected:
      • When donating used items it is important to remember that we want the individuals receiving these items to feel valued and respected. "Gently used" items are those that appear to be new, but may have been previously used.
      • Please wash or dry clean used items prior to donating and include hangers if at all possible.
      • Items that are less than quality will not be accepted.

How Does First Impressions Work?

STEP 1: The job-seeking individual contacts the Love INC office, where a volunteer will interview them to discuss their needs.

STEP 2: Depending on the outcome of the interview, the job seeker is then enrolled in a Love INC job search class, paired with a job search coach or asked to provide verification of completion of another local job search program.

STEP 3: Once the training has been completed verified, the job seeker is given a certificate and may choose a time to visit First Impressions and pick out an outfit of their choice to wear to interviews and, hopefully, their new job. Additional clothing may be provided under special circumstances or at a later time if needed for second interviews or starting employment. 

To Participate in the Job Search Program, Volunteer or Donate:

Contact Love INC by calling 573/256-7662 and follow prompts provided.