February 2, 2020 was a truly unforgettable day that is now ingrained in the minds of the Orange County community. Mere weeks before the global pandemic would strain the entire country, the Working Wardrobes Career Success Center and Donation Center headquarters were decimated by a fire.

Working Wardrobes is a relied upon institution in Orange County that helps individuals overcome barriers to rebuild their careers and experience the Power of a PaycheckTM. The fire was not only a loss for Working Wardrobes, but for the entire community who then rallied around us to rebuild and continue serving clients. Orange County residents, corporations, nonprofits and businesses generously came to the rescue, demonstrating our collective resolve and resilience. Join us Wednesday, February 2, 2022 to commemorate the fire, and celebrate the community and future plans that keep Working Wardrobes going strong.

Two Years Ago

In the days following the devastating fire, we pivoted to rebuild Working Wardrobes and get back to helping clients as soon as possible. Thanks to the generosity of the community, Working Wardrobes was able to rebuild the infrastructure that makes accomplishing the mission possible.

Weeks later, Working Wardrobes was forced to face the reality of a pandemic. With more layoffs happening around the state than before, Working Wardrobes wanted to meet the needs of clients who were hoping to find security during incredibly trying times. With the loss of the building, the shutdown of in-person activities, and the gut-wrenching layoff of twenty-five staffers, we faced our biggest challenge ever: restoration and growth.

Since Then

In the days and months following the fire and onset of the pandemic, Working Wardrobes pursued steady crisis management, transition, and stabilization. We quickly launched digital programs for clients, providing both resources and hope to those who desperately needed both. Within a matter of days after the fire, a warehouse space was donated and just as quickly filled with clothing donations.

Donations continued to pour in from all over Orange County and by September, we were able to open our new Career Success Center in Santa Ana, where clients are served, and a new Donation Center warehouse in Irvine.   

Just like we rebuild careers for our clients, we continue to build our organization. The pandemic has created the need for our services more than ever, and we still have much to do and grow. We continue to be a beacon of hope and service for community members facing challenges to getting back to work: Veterans, low-income seniors, justice involved, to name a few.  Our track record is strong: to date we’ve served over 110,000 individuals and thanks to the remarkable resilience of the Working Wardrobes family and our community of supporters, we will continue serving over 4500 clients in 2022.  


Working Wardrobes will commemorate the fire and the rebuilding journey over the two-years since the fire on February 2, 2022. RSVP and join our new CEO, Bonni Pomush, as we commemorate, celebrate, and continue this great organization’s work Rebuilding Careers.