The holidays can be both a heartwarming and an overwhelming time. For people, particularly parents, who are living in poverty, that overwhelming feeling has less to do with choosing light decor and more to do with the struggle of providing for their families.
I didn’t grow up with a lot. There were Christmases where we had a few boxes under the tree, but there also were many years we didn’t have anything. During the latter years, I remember the guilt and sadness that overtook my mother. I remember her explaining why we didn’t have any gifts this year. I remember being told the next year would be better. I remember feeling her heaviness, though at the time I was unable to fully comprehend the concept of money and that we didn’t have much of it. As I got older, I started to realize how much our finances can impact our holidays, our other days, where we live, how we live, and our overall circumstances. It is because of this experience that I’ve involved myself in community service.
This year, my friend Kydee Williams and I joined forces to create a project that is centered in direct service to our Bronx and Brooklyn communities. We founded The Pop-Up Care Shop, an interactive charity initiative that delivers donated goods directly to people in need. Partnering with different nonprofit organizations, we collect donated items and then “set-up shop,” displaying the goods on racks and shelves. Shoppers get to take what they like! Rejecting the traditional drop-off donation, in which most cases donors never meet the recipients, we are serving others directly with dignity and style!
For our first pop-up shop, we are treating the women of SAMMON Build, a Bronx-based shelter for homeless women and their children. On December 10th, we will transform the shelter’s community space into a shopping party, equipped with music, snacks, and beautifully selected clothes to “shop.” We want to give these women an occasion to celebrate and most importantly an opportunity to choose what they want. The power of choice is the foundation of our purpose. So many of the women at SAMMON Build have faced hardship because of their loss of choice. Poverty and abuse can make anyone feel powerless, and many homeless women fall victim to these painful realities. We aim to empower these women with the opportunity to choose.
On Saturday, November 19, we are hosting a clothing drive mixer called Cocktails for a Cause. Guests are invited to donate clothes, enjoy yummy cocktails, and learn more about our project. Our event is made possible with the generous support of our sponsors: Oyin Handmade, RUNA, Core, Warehouse Gallery, Sensual Beauty Boutique, Sparkling G, and DJ LotusMoon (who will be spinning the tunes!).
We will be collecting women’s, kids’, and baby clothes. In partnership with a fellow creative, Empress Varnado - who supports the Making A Difference, Period project, we will also be collecting feminine hygiene care.
If you are interested in The Pop-Up Care Shop and want to help make this holiday season special for the women and children of SAMMON Build, please support our Gofundme campaign and/or RSVP for our event this Saturday by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org .
Let’s make holiday shopping easier for folks in need.