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First Impressions Ministry

First Impressions: A Professional Clothing Ministry


First Impressions is a professional clothing ministry established by Love INC 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. First Impressions donations of time an money not only provide clothing to those in need, but also fuels their growth and education in postive workplace skills. Donating to this program effectively works to decrease poverty and strengthen the workforce in Columbia.

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

  • 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 through Love INC, a local church or other approved local agency. 

How can I help? 

  • Donations of time:
    • Ask local businesses or individuals for clothing donations.
    • 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.
      • Gift certificates to purchase items not available through donations.

Always remember that we want individuals receiving clothing to feel valued and respected. We only accept "gently-used" items; items 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.

How Does First Impressions Work?

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

STEP 2: Job seekers are 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: When training is completed, the job seeker is given a certificate and and can visit First Impressions to 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.