When reading the daily newspaper (AmNewYork) I stumbled across the posting about a Stop ‘N’ Swap event hosted by NYC Recycles and GrowNYC throughout some of the NYC boroughs and thought immediately that I have to share this information. One, because it is free; and two, if the first reason was not good enough, this is the perfect event for you to donate your clothes or household items that might otherwise be crowding up your closet, drawers, catching dust or doubling as a paperweight. Plus, if you see something you like and will need, you can swap it or just take it to go. After all, their motto is ‘ you don’t have to bring something to take something’ so go for it.
Now, I know that my blog is seems to be centered around fashion and the occasional homemade recipe, but I also started this blog to talk about various topics in addition to fashion, like bits of my life and my passion for service – you know, volunteering and providing information about helping charitable organizations. Therefore, it is only natural for me to bring up this idea that has been beating around my head for several months, but lately for the past several weeks. Yes, weeks!
I have been keeping this idea to myself out of fear that no one would support it as I am not a noted blogger yet, and realizing that I might not get support from others who started following my blog for the fashion or other topics not related to candid issues such as homelessness. Nonetheless, I feel empowered sharing my thoughts on such an often vulnerable issue.
Though I have not had to experience to harsh reality of being homeless, I have been fortunate enough and am grateful that I have met those who were and are living this way. Each story is different but the issue is always the same. From misfortunes such as facing cancer and no being able to pay the bills to leaving an abusive relationship to start over with no familial support sometimes with just the clothes on their backs. As of late November 2014 to early January 2015, I had this idea beating around in my head to start a drive to support homeless shelters that are in the most need. The reason behind it being that oftentimes many of us support organizations by donating money to a cause, but go on living not sure if our money is going to the right place or how much a cause is being supported when the money trickles down. Though this does happen at times and it may not be true for most organizations, it eases my mind when I know that the products are going directly to the people I intend for it to reach. Hence, my idea to start a drive called ‘Clothe Thy Neighbor’ where I send essential supplies directly to the neediest shelters.
Here’s more photos of CYNY clothing:
Oddly enough, while researching similar outlets I came across an organization that is actually called, Clothe Your Neighbor as Yourself (CYNY) which was founded by James Barnett. (This made me think of the proverbial saying – ‘anything under the sun…’) Barnett intentionally dedicated two years of his life to living homeless. Your can read of his story here. CYNY sells clothes and accessories that support people in need with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the cause. How awesome is that? Plus, the clothes are fashionable. Check out their popular “Make Love A Verb” t-shirt seen above. (I’ll probably get it in the tank top.)
Much like CYNY, Business Leaders of Tomorrow Leadership Empowerment Center (BLOTLEC) is a non-profit organization that provides aid for homelessness prevention in addition to entrepreneurship workshops and career development services training programs for youth and young adults. At this time, BLOTLEC is fundraising to aid to people who are currently facing life-changing issues such as home evictions. So far, the organization has raised $1,200 out of the $1,700 through the NYCharities.org needed to prevent individuals from losing their home by Thursday, May 14, 2015.
If you would like to help and know others who would like to donate, click here. Enter ‘Eviction Prevention’ in the Designate your donation to a specific program or fund text box.
I have to admit that these two organizations have only inspired me to work on my idea and make it happen.
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I know that an education is priceless depending on who you ask, but, for the moment let’s compare education to the cost of a pencil. How much does 1 box of pencils costs? Okay, how much does 1 pencil cost? Now that you have those numbers in your head, imagine that that price was the only thing standing in your way of an education. If you could afford it, would you buy it? If your answer if yes, then, imagine if you could give that pencil to someone who could not afford it. You can make a world of a difference when you give someone especially a child a pencil. A child with a pencil and a dream has the opportunity to become a writer, scientist, engineer, architect, artist, fashion designer, and much, much more.
Pencils of Promise (PoP) is an ‘for-purpose’ organization that believes in changing the lives of children with the gift of an education. On the site, PoP’s founder, Adam Braun, talks about how he decided to take on the impossible, start an organization that changes the lives of children all over the world by building safe and accessible schools, and how it all started with the answer to the question, “What do you want most in the world?”
Since starting in 2008, PoP has successfully built more than 250 schools, have empowered over 25,000 students and the numbers are continuing to go up.
Thanksgiving might be over but I believe that everyday is the day of thanks-giving, and I’m thankful for my family and people like Adam Braun. I was so moved that I decided donate so that a child can live their dream – 100% of the proceeds go toward their programs. If you would like to donate, click here and comment below or @Colormelimitlessly_by_Kaisha and @pencilsofpromise on Instagram when you do.