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Months before Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College’s (NEO) commencement exercises are scheduled to begin, the members of NEO Women & Friends start stocking Peggy’s Closet with suits, dress shirts, jackets, dresses and other business attire for graduates taking their first steps into the job market.   “About six years ago we realized that NEO had graduates about to go on their first job interviews, or starting an internship, without the appropriate business attire to make the right first impression,” said Donna Hale, chairwoman of NEO Women & Friends. “To help them we launched Peggy’s Closet. Students can come in and find one or two outfits to wear that are professional and suitable for the workplace. There’s no charge, and we know they leave NEO prepared to be successful.”

Donations of gently used work clothing from local community members keep Peggy’s Closet stocked, but this year volunteers realized there weren’t enough neckties to keep up with demand. “In some workplaces, a tie really completes an outfit for a man,” according to NEO Women & Friends member Peggy Rhine. “The job market is competitive and the grunge look is over. People looking for jobs need every advantage, and looking like a professional can be the difference between being hired and being overlooked.”

To encourage people to donate neckties this year, NEO Women & Friends is hosting a “Suit Up for Valentine’s Day” drawing. For every necktie donated to Peggy’s Closet the giver is entered in a drawing to win a Valentine’s Day dinner for two prepared by NEO’s Executive Chef, Steven Slifka. “Chef Slifka has really made a huge difference at NEO in terms of introducing students to new cuisines, and trying to broaden our culinary horizons while still serving popular favorites,” said Cathy Cunningham, general manager of NEO’s Sodexo Food Services and member of NEO Women & Friends. “We knew offering people the chance to take home something special he prepared was the perfect way to motivate people in our community to clean out their closets and donate ties.”

People who wish to donate neckties can drop them off in the NEO Library or at Peggy’s Closet, located the basement of Copen Hall.  Each item donated before February 12th, 2015 becomes an entry in the drawing for Chef Slifka’s Valentine’s dinner for two, which includes a three-course meal, sparkling fruit juice and dessert.  For more information about donating to Peggy’s Closet, call 918-540-6120 Monday through Thursday 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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