For today’s Tuesday Takeaway I wanted to focus on giving back!
Today is ‘Giving Tuesday’: Giving Tuesday was created initially as a movement towards spreading kindness and encouraging individuals to do good, typically held over the holiday season. Over time it has grown into a larger movement inspiring collaboration, giving and celebrating generosity. Today the focus centers on the COVID-19 outbreak and combatting this virus while coming together. Every action matters, not only today but every day. Each one of us has something to give, whether it’s a smile, intentionally supporting another individual, standing up for a cause, or giving some of what we have to another in need. Right now we must transition our lens to an empathetic lens where we can evaluate what we as an individual can contribute to better our collective condition as a community. Each seemingly small contribution develops into a large meaningful impact which is why it’s important to remind ourselves that every action is meaningful.
One way to give is with your time. Locally here in Boston there are endless opportunities, I feel so grateful to live in a city with such a strong philanthropic base. I am a registered volunteer with Boston Cares; Boston Cares is the largest volunteer agency in New England! There are so many diverse opportunities to give you time to within your community but sometimes it seems so hard to find! Currently amid this crisis there are endless opportunities to explore, I encourage to you evaluate your individual circumstance prior to committing yourself to such an opportunity. Evaluate your safety, risks and wellbeing before entering environments that have potential to increase your exposure and if you are able to provide your time to an agency in need, ensure you have appropriate protection including a mask and gloves! There is opportunity for volunteering within Boston Cares, American Red Cross, local food banks and more; in your local community try reaching out to a local food bank or church to see where you can be best utilized. Here in Boston there is such a high need to pack and distribute meals especially among our school-aged children dependent on meals within their school-day and our elderly populations and these organizations make it so easy to get involved. Boston Cares does an amazing job of providing a breakdown of locations, times and days that opportunities are available so you can work around your schedule!
Another way to give back is through financial donations. There are endless ways to support the fight against COVID-19 whether you are combatting hunger, supporting our frontline staff, or donating towards supplies there is always an opportunity to give if you’re financially able. Here in Boston there is the MA COVID-19 Relief Fund, the COVID-19 Response Fund through the Boston Foundation, the Boston Resiliency Fund, Boston Athletic Association and the United Way’s COVID-19 Family Support Fund and these are just some of the larger funds available. Nationally there is Feeding America, No Kid Hungry and many more essential causes to outreach, think of a cause that is meaningful to you and at this time and use this to make your decision. (As always, do your research on foundations before providing them your financial information.) Other than providing financially you can also provide products at this time! Homeless shelters (men, women, children), domestic violence organizations, are all seeking donations at this time. At this time donations need to be filtered so outreach your local organizations to see their protocols amid COVID-19. Here in Boston many shelters aren’t accepting their typical donations however there is an Amazon wish list setup to provide support through which minimizes risk! Do your research and discover what alternatives there are in your area!
Pine Street Inn is one of our largest shelters and their donation page can be found here: https://www.pinestreetinn.org/covid-19-update
Give kindness. A huge way to give back during this time is through simple acts of kindness. This is what will be supporting us through this time. Reach out to friends, family members and neighbors, check-in on how those around you are doing. My sister and I used crafting to spread some smiles during this time. Emily wanted to create signs for essential staff to have on our door. These hearts acknowledge delivery drivers, sanitation staff, first responders, medical/healthcare staff and her coworkers got a special sign. Leaving out hand sanitizer, gatorades/waters, or a thank you sign for sanitation staff and delivery personnel truly makes a difference. Boston recently opened “Boston Hope Center” to support the growing need as we continue to experience this pandemic. A family friend was transitioned there for work and reached out on social media, she described that she needed signs to hang on the walls to promote hope and healing. We created signs and got them to her as this was a small way of spreading smiles in our community as we come together. Out in California a family spreads kindness through their “Love People Movement” which is centered on the premise to spread love in a world that needs it. Shop their joy here: http://lovepeople.bigcartel.com
Masks are a huge way to give back at this time. In March, I had never used a sewing machine however that has quickly changed. The population I work with has little access to resources and I realized how high a need there is at this time. I googled “how to use a sewing machine” and went to work. I grabbed sheet sets I had here at home and ordered some fabrics online in order to begin making what there is such a need for and within days had produced over 100 masks. By no means are my masks professional but they provide a sense of security to individuals who otherwise would not have that. They’re made with love as my clients are near and dear to my heart and I saw no other response. If you have old sheets and an ability to sew there are local shelters desperate for mask donations!!!!!
A final and substantial way to give back is to provide financial support through supporting local businesses or businesses that you hold with high regard! I have put together a list (below) of companies that are either changing their brand to support COVID-19 efforts or are donating a portion of proceeds towards meaningful charities in order to support our most vulnerable! How amazing is it to see these communities bridging together in order to better the lives of those in need. Show your support by shopping brands that hold themselves to a higher standard and support us as individuals. Here in Boston I have been so proud to support local businesses that are creating not only product but a movement. A local small-business boutique, The Cue, has rebranded creating a movement towards kindness and giving (shopthecue.com). The owner has created “Headbands for Heroes” (*seen here) which has been revolutionary among frontline staff, these headbands can be donated and utilized daily. Since then she has continued to expand her concepts of kindness by creating ‘Cue Care Boxes’ as a way to support one another through deliveries of goodies. A family owned restaurant in Millis, Caffe Primavera, has developed Care Packages free of charge. These are meals feeding up to SIX PEOPLE, to grab and deliver to individuals in need. You can also pay it forward on their site by purchasing anonymous care packages in order to support this initiative (check it out here: http://www.primav.com/caffesite/mammacarepackage.html). No individual should go hungry and this restaurant took it upon themselves to foster humanity in their business funded on family. A local business run by a young woman has utilized the tie-dye trend to support local needs. Her rotating business will alternate funding distribution, most recently supporting BARCC. Scope out her page to get involved (imaworkingwoman.com).
Speak up and speak out about causes that are meaningful to you! One important way to give back is through using our voice and the community around us! The only way to spread the word about need is to use your voice and use it loud! Do your research and help support spreading the word about these essential needs now and long after COVID-19.
Check out some brands supporting COVID-19 relief and humanity:
Lively is a brand and community inspired for women, by women! Currently this brand is donating bras and proceeds from the ‘Just Be Tee’ ($25) to “I Support the Girls” which provides essential feminine items to girls and women experiencing homelessness, impoverishment or distress because “a woman shouldn’t have to choose between feeding herself and her personal health. Every woman should have the ability to maintain her dignity” Found here: https://www.wearlively.com/products/the-just-be-tee-white?_pos=1&_sid=323d5901e&_ss=r&variant=31881685925984
BackCountry has donated over 9,000 masks to the NYC Department of Homeless Services and is working to produce more for the homeless population and frontline staff, for every $5 donation, 1.5 masks are created! Use this link to partake:
All profits from Everlane’s 100% Human Line go to Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund; shop the line here: https://www.everlane.com/collections/100-percent-human
CROCS donates 10,000 free pairs of shoes PER DAY to healthcare workers on the frontlines of COVID-19. Enter the virtual waiting room in the morning to make a request to “Share a Pair for Healthcare” here: https://www.crocs.com/COVID19-REQUEST.html
Kopari is donating $1 from every transaction to direct COVID-19 relief funds. Grande Cosmetics is giving you 15% off and donating 15% of every purchase towards Feeding America. Clinique donated 50,000 skincare products to NYC hospital staff. ADIDAS, New Balance, Reebok, Nike and Under Armour are all leading brand transformations with efforts to develop PPE for frontline staff while also supporting relief funds globally through financial donations. Hoka ONE ONE has donated 5,000 pairs of shoes to hospital staff. Other brands who donated financially or developed positive initiatives during this pandemic include Tory Burch, APL (Athletic Propulsion Labs), Warby Parker, Kendra Scott, Billie Razors for Women, Clif Bars, Avon, Aveda, SummerSalt, WeWoreWhat and Summer Fridays. So many influential brands are now developing masks or have a buy/donate iniative happening including Show Me Your Mumu, Madewell, JCrew, ALO, and more! Check out Brands X Better for more information on positive brand initiatives going on right now!
While there is so much happening around us and it can be easy to become overwhelmed, it is most important to seek the good. There is always so much hope, love, joy and kindness surrounding us and we all need a little more time to focus on this these days. Take a moment and consider how you can use this Tuesday Takeaway to share a smile today.