Bridging the Gap: Second Chance Closet in need of clothing, toiletries donations for recently released inmates

Bridging the Gap

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – When inmates have completed their sentences and are ready to re-enter the community, they leave jail wearing what they had on when they were arrested.

Often, they’re not wearing shoes or the type clothing appropriate for work.

The Knox County Sheriff’s Office is stepping in by opening Second Chance Closet.

It’s actually a large room at the work release site near the Roger D. Wilson Detention Facility, where gently used clothing is already coming in, from shoes to shirts.

Donations are off to a good start but the goal is to have the room filled with lots of options for inmates like Justin: He didn’t want us to use his full name or show his face. He’s ready for a new start and helping to keep the area clean by sweeping floors, welcoming this opportunity for himself and other inmates.

Justin shared with us, “I’ve been in a situation where I’ve gotten arrested in just a pair of shorts and got out in the middle of winter and had to walk home in shorts. I think (the clothing closet) is a great idea.”

Sorting through the clothing donations at Second Chance Closet. (Photo: WATE)

Beatrice Skrip created the Second Chance Closet. Skrip is the director of re-entry programs for the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.

“Anybody who came not dressed for the season, you know, when they get out, some people come in the summertime and get out in the wintertime. Other people come from the hospital and they only have a hospital gown. We have people who have almost no clothing on. We want to make sure everyone leaves here with dignity.”

The need right now is for gently used clothing – from casual to dressy, suitable for what to wear starting with the job interview.

Second Chance Closet also needs clothing racks and hangers, but it’s more than just collecting donations: Second Chance Closet sends a powerful message to those looking for that second chance.

“To show them that somebody actually cares for them and believes them, that they’re going to change when they go out into the community,” Beatrice says.

How you can help

Items needed:

  • NEW underwear and socks for men and women
  • GENTLY USED clothing for people ages 18 and up
  • Clothing appropriate for work, job interviews, halfway houses, rehab appointments
  • Toiletries: deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, shampoo, conditioner

Second Chance Closet Drop-Off Locations:

WATE 6 On Your Side/Greystone mansion
1306 North Broadway
Knoxville, TN 37917
9 a.m. – 5 p.m. weekdays through Nov. 27

City-County Building
400 Main Street SW
Knoxville, TN 37902

Knox County Sheriff’s Office – Halls Precinct
7326 Norris Freeway (Old Wal Mart Shopping Center)
Knoxville, TN 37918
(865) 922-1070

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