Back on November 5th, I posted on Facebook that I was looking for a group that did a holiday soup kitchen. I know we are rural and at times disorganized, but somewhere there had to be someone handing out hot turkey sandwiches with a side of cranberry sauce to those who are lonesome and less fortunate on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
I had some really good suggestions. Several people recommended contacting our local Salvation Army. Turns out, we don’t really have a local chapter of the Salvation Army. There are several locations in Hampton Roads which happens to be separated from us by a body of water. I want to hand out those turkey sandwiches to my wayward neighbors. Traveling to another area defeated the purpose. There are local churches that have designated days of the week they provide meals for the hungry. That didn’t quite fit what I was looking for either.
Friday afternoon a brilliant idea came to me.
Freedom Starter Kits.
Some of you may know that many moons ago I was in a horrible relationship. Like many women in bad situations, when you leave you often leave with just the clothes on your back. When I was finally brave enough to run, I can’t tell you how devastating it was to realize I didn’t even have a toothbrush.
I started putting together care kits for the Eastern Shore Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The care kits include 2 in 1 shampoo/conditioner, a comb, tampons, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste and body soap. I’m hoping these ‘Freedom Starter Kits’ will help victims of domestic violence though a very challenging time in their lives. It’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back… or the lack of a toothbrush.
At first, I posted a picture on my Facebook page asking my friends to help by donating or sharing the photo. It wasn’t long after that I decided to up my game. Facebook has become a popularity contest and it is hard to get your post seen by your friends. I created an event and invited all of my friends. The response was immediate. People joined the event and invited their friends. An official donation list was created. Three drop off locations were established. This was all done in less that twenty-four hours.
I currently have six completed Freedom Starter Kits in my possession. The interest in this project has absolutely exceeded my expectations – which is FANTASTIC! What is frightening is how many people have said, “I’ve been in that situation myself.” This tells me that I was not a minority all those years ago. Domestic violence is real and it is going on all the time right under our noses.
I know many of my followers are far and wide so donating to this particular cause is not reasonable. I bet there is a similar group in your area that could use the same sort of project. When it comes time for you to share your holiday cheer, branch out and think about those groups overlooked during Christmas. Let’s give someone a fresh start on a brand new life.
For updates on how this project is going, please join the Facebook event : Freedom Starter Kits.
How do you give back during the holiday season?
****UPDATE****** A GoFundMe campaign has been set up at gofund.me/freedomkit for anyone who would like to make a donation!