Donna began her position as Clothes That Work Coordinator in 2016. She was familiar with Damiano programs because she used to work at a domestic violence shelter and had brought clients here for various needs. About the variety of services provided, she says, “It’s unique in the fact that we serve food, work clothes, regular clothes...it’s amazing...how many people feel like this is their home almost. It’s a community for our community because they have nowhere else to go. It’s kind of beautiful in that way. The best thing about it is they feel safe, they feel comfortable here, and they’re welcome.”
Donna loves her job: “It’s kind of addicting, I think. When somebody walks out of Clothes That Work they feel like a million bucks. You can just see the change in how they feel about themselves. It makes them feel like they can get that job or they can keep going to work and feel good about themselves. Maybe things will work out.”
Due to COVID-19, Donna has been working in the Community Kitchen and her program is closed. That's a big change for her. She says, "Coming to work is the same still. I love learning about the different programs. Just how hard people work everywhere in this building."
She talks about COVID more generally and says, "There’s a lot of fear – that’s changed. It’s a different kind of fear now. Are you going to get sick? Are you going to pass it on to somebody? It’s changed in that way. It isn’t just I’m homeless, I don’t have food or clothing, it’s now am I gonna die? That inspires me to work down in the kitchen and know what a great service we’re providing through all of this. It’s amazing and it makes me want to work harder."
When asked what people should know about the Damiano Center, Donna says, “You don’t have money to shop, you can still come here and get things and it’s like shopping in a store. We make it as nice as possible, as clean as possible. We offer so many things here that maybe you couldn’t get on your own.”
Besides the clothing programs, which are still closed for the time being, she says, “you can always get fed.”
Donna's favorite part of working at the Damiano Center: “I love seeing people realize that maybe they can change things.”