By Lauren Lipton
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — This story begins here:
“I have a cousin who was a Marine who passed away at the age of 23,” recalls Delaware resident Star Biel. “Some of the Marines who came to his funeral weren’t in dress blues or suits at the funeral because they couldn’t afford to have one since separating from the service.”
Biel says the vets told her this was one of the biggest transitional issues they were facing: they needed a job, but first they needed a business suit for the interviews.
“I started collecting suits from people I knew, with the idea in mind that I was going to donate them,” Biel tells Positively Philadelphia, “and instead I created my own foundation, called Suiting Warriors.”
Suiting Warriors has been holding special events to collect business clothing for veterans, particularly those from the post-9/11 wars.
“We actually got clothes that were delivered for men and women,” Biel said at a recent collection event at the Comcast Center in center city Philadelphia. “We got two bags of ties.”
Scott Lehman, who was helping out at the collection point, described himself as “a volunteer and a Marine Corps veteran.”
As is Nick Gianoulis, who had been helping Suiting Warriors with “donated suits and certainly a lot of time.”
“I really wanted to help out and do something for the guys returning from Afghanistan and Iraq.”
She had been keeping all the suits in her apartment, but now they are going to be transferred to donated space where veterans will be able to come and get what they need.
One of the donation sites is 1600 North 5th Street in Philadelphia, with more locations to come.