SEUALG Press Release
Last fall, the non-profit Utah Woolen Mills Foundation came to Carbon County to work with people on its Suited For Good program and out of it came 12 suits of clothes for a dozen people who received them later in the year.
In July, they came to the area again, this time working with 10 individuals to do the same for them.
“We enjoyed coming here and working with the people who helped set the program up and those who benefited from it,” said Bart Stringham as he was setting up clothes racks and getting everything together for the session. “This place feels a lot like home to us.”
Home for Stringham and the others involved in the program may be the Wasatch Front, but they are taking pleasure in helping people in rural areas, many of whom have never owned a real suit of clothes.
For the next three hours, Stringham, his wife Sue and Mike Ford, one of those who contributes to and makes the program possible, measured, fitted and talked with people in the atrium at the Business Technical Assistance Center on South Carbon Avenue. The local sponsor for bringing the program to the area was the Southeastern Utah Association of Local Government’s (SEUALG) Circles Initiative, a program organized to help break the cycle of intergenerational poverty. Other local people involved included Karl Kraync, Carbon County Sheriff Jeff Wood and former resident Dr. Max Morgan.
“Since we started this program with our foundation a little less than three years ago, we have given out just about 600 suits to date,” said Stringham. “More than half the people that we have given suits to have gotten jobs or better jobs. We, as a family, have been very blessed, so by doing this for others, we get to spread that around.”
According to Sue Stringham, the idea emanated from their son, who is now part of the for-profit company. He told his parents that they had been lucky over the years to work in such a great business and he thought that they should share in some way. Thus, Suited For Good came into existence.
Utah Woolen Mills itself started in 1905 and has been owned and run by the Stringham family ever since. It is now in its fifth generation as a company.
“When they came here and did this a few months ago, it was a very moving experience,” said Julie Rosier, Community Services Program Manager for SEUALG and the person who is over the Circles Initiative. “A lot of the individuals who got the suits last year are trying to rebuild their lives, many with little faith in themselves and they were struggling. This opportunity brought so much confidence to them. It’s the idea that someone believes in them and isn’t judging them makes it an unbelievable experience.”
Recipients of the service are nominated for the fitting by either an employer or someone who knows of their struggles. One of the individuals who was fitted on this trip said that the suit will really help her with the job she already has.
“We go to a lot of conferences and meetings like that where I can use a nice suit,” she said. “So, it was really special to me that I was nominated and I am excited to see them when they are finished.”
Based on time estimates, those that were fitted by the foundation in July should be receiving their clothes before Sept. 1.
A video about the visit to Carbon County can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgBk14FkqcM&t=5s