In January of 2014, Nancy* was referred to the Bottomless Closet by the Cathedral Center shelter. She was 57 and had had a very successful job as an executive assistant for 20 years before she met a man who promised to support her and quit her job. Not long after, her boyfriend left her for a younger woman. Jobless, she spent all her savings and retirement money until she ended up out on the streets.
At this point, Nancy was spending most of her days aimlessly wandering the streets of Milwaukee. She had lost quite a bit of weight, but didn’t seem to notice until she started trying clothing on. Once she could see how nice the clothing fit I could see a total transformation in her. She picked out several nice outfits and said she would start looking for a job. She felt out of touch since she had not worked in a few years and was worried about her computer skills, but the clothing seemed to give her the confidence boost she needed to move forward.
A year later, Nancy called me out of the blue. She was living in Waukesha and had found a job at a non-profit that provided clothing much like the Bottomless Closet. She had a place to live and was in a positive relationship with a new man. She explained that she had called me in search of a job in Milwaukee, where she felt more at home. I promised to keep in touch if I heard of anything.
Before we hung up, she said she wanted to thank me for the clothing and accessories she had received from the Bottomless Closet. She expressed how for most of her life, she was the person who made donations to a place like the Bottomless Closet. She never expected to be on the other end.
Life-altering events can happen to anyone at any time. Organizations like the Bottomless Closet help equip people in these situations with the tools they need to turn their lives around.
-Story written by Jeri Kavanaugh, Bottomless Closet
*Name changed for client anonymity.