This Black Man Began 100 Fits for 100 Males; Now He is Serving to Over 20,000 Residents in New York
Kevin Livingston is the founder and CEO of 100 Suits for 100 Men. Founded in 2011, the organization was created to meet the needs of men and women in New York City who require business attire.
In 2015, the organization received nonprofit status 501 (c) (3) and expanded its programs beyond the lawsuits. 100 Suits has addressed socio-economic issues and has been an integral part of the communities they serve. Recently, the food delivery organization switched to serving seniors and others in need during the pandemic.
“Nobody could have told me that when I started delivering to seniors in the first week of March … it was going to become a cutlery range,” says Livingston. “And we would hire several young people from our ward to lead it. Truly amazing!”
100 suits to support families during the pandemic
When the pandemic hit in March 2020, millions of Americans faced unexpected challenges. Livingston decided to step on the plate, organize a team of individuals and make a difference where it was needed most.
On March 6, Livingston created a program for seniors to help those most vulnerable to the problems of the pandemic. As of March, 100 Suits has delivered over 22,000 groceries and meals for seniors in Queens, New York. As part of the 100 soup program, the organization provided homeless shelters with home-made soups every week. The organization also developed the # Feed500 initiative to provide fresh produce boxes.
Livingston has launched a youth culinary program to help fuel these initiatives. During the summer, the youth came together and cooked meals that were delivered to the elderly. This program created 12 new jobs for young people affected by leaving traditional jobs.
100 suits were also there to provide personal protective equipment (PPE). The team distributed 30,000 PPE, including masks and disinfectants.
Building the next generation of leaders
100 suits have been in motion since the pandemic began. The organization has served the most marginalized people in Queens, from disadvantaged youth to senior citizens.
“Looking back, we’ve done a lot and one of the proudest moments I have is with an 18-year-old overseeing our senior program,” said Livingston in an email to Black Enterprise. “I love my team because, together with me, they risk our lives to help others.”
Even during the pandemic, 100 suits remained true to their core task: providing resources that create employment opportunities. Before the pandemic, that reach came in the form of suits, free haircuts, and salon recommendations. Colin Kaepernick was an instrumental supporter donating bespoke suits to help prepare more men and women for job interviews.
Now the organization was part of the job creation process. 100 suits offered formerly imprisoned men and women 10 jobs to become ambassadors for the Social Distance Community. The team distributed PPE masks and disinfectants. It also encouraged testing to ensure residents’ safety.
“Children, young men and men of color have to see people like themselves presented in a positive light by“ normal ”people. In addition, it provides a framework for them to understand that dreams coupled with hard work lead to success and empowerment. It speaks to opportunity, shows hope, and has the ability to inspire others to pursue their dreams despite the lack of initial support. “