Your donation will be used to purchase items for a homeless care package. $10 donation = 1 digital image. Up to 5 digital images granted per session ($50). Update your quantity for donations over $10 by selecting checkout, and then changing the "1" to however much you wish to donate.
Donation toward our needy family will be used to purchase a tree, decorations, toys, and a warm meal to be delivered before Christmas. Donate in increments of $10 up to $50. $10 donation = 1 free digital or a $15 credit. Change the amount of product from 1 or whatever number you wish to donate (in increments of $10).
$20 donation = purchasing 2 of this item $40 donation = purchasing 4 of this item
The family we helped Christmas 2016 4 days before Christmas eve. We surprised the single mother of 5 with pizza, a tree, and over 75 wrapped gifts.
Our annual donation drive for Fall and Christmas sessions will begin on September 1st and run through December 15th. All sessions that take place between those dates will qualify to donate and earn free products and credits. This program has been very successful the past 4 years, and I hope 2017 will bring even more to the community. Last year, we collected donations for the local homeless and delivered several boxes of produce, batteries, infant clothing, diapers, winter clothing, and boxes of dry food. Babies were warm and our local homeless had food and clothing last year because of YOU. Amazing.
This year, we are doing something slightly different. Let me explain. I had the opportunity to volunteer several times at the Raleigh Soup kitchen downtown last year. So many times did I leave there feeling hopeless and just down right sad. For the community, for the homeless, and for those babies whose only home was a stroller their momma pushed through the streets of our neighborhoods. It was so heartbreaking and so emotional to see those men and women (and kids) come in to get a warm meal and head back out into the cold wind, and back on the street. When I would leave the kitchen and head back to my car, I noticed several men and women (although their bellies full) go back to the street without a warm jacket, a blanket for the night ahead, toilet paper, toothbrushes, you name it. They were still suffering even after being fed a full meal. They still had to survive the night and the next morning until the kitchen was ready for another lunch. One warm meal a day and back into the cold was something I couldn't accept.
My daughters and I spent several hundred dollars that December creating care packages to pass out to any homeless person or family we came across. Whether it be downtown or right down the street. We made sure they had a package. We included these items mainly from Dollar Tree: batteries, notebooks/pens, 2-3 pairs of socks, toothbrush and toothpaste, hair brush, kleenex, zip lock bags, deodorant, shampoo, snacks, and more. Some bags even included a hat, mittens, and a jacket we donated straight from our winter bucket in our own closets. I felt better knowing these folks at least had some comfort items to survive the long cold nights without any homeless services. Obviously, it wasn't enough, but I felt like I did something right. We even spent over $200 responding to an ad for help on Craigslist. We were safe and made sure the family was legit.
At the end of the season, we came across a mother with 5 children living in east Raleigh whose husband had recently died and she had quads who were in and out of hospital care due to some major heath problems (see picture above). She was behind on her rent, her car had died, and her spirit was crushed. It was 4 days before Christmas eve when we showed up at her house with a live Christmas tree, about 75 wrapped toys (new and used), 4 boxes of pizza, and a check for 1/2 of December rent. All from the help of some of my amazing friends.
With all that said, this year, I am asking YOU, my amazing clients, to help make our annual donation even better. I will be purchasing and preparing care packages again for our local homeless and delivering these myself to homeless we come across and handing the rest out to those who are attending the soup kitchen lunches. My husband will also take several and hand out to homeless he passes by on his 2 mile walk to work every morning (which actually is about 15 regulars he sees walking the streets on a cold week day morning).
We will also be working together to surprise another needy family in the area this Christmas with new, wrapped toys, a tree, and a warm meal. I have several families lined up for this amazing gift already and one will be chosen very soon. If we can help more than 1 family, I would be absolutely thrilled.
WHAT I NEED FROM YOU:
Care Package Items For Homeless: new socks batteries zip lock bags snacks flashlight (small) toiletries hygiene items tampons/pad (women) matches hand warmers lip balm lotion band aids gloves scarves gum small water bottle (by the case) Large Gallon Zip Locks (to hold it all) $1 bills
Needy Family Items: Donation money to purchase a tree (cost last year was $50) Donated Christmas Tree Decor (not old, mostly new and lightly used) NEW, wrapped toys (label boy/girl/either and make sure it fits a good age range) Donations for a warm, delivered meal (pizza or local restaurant we can pick up quickly)
Volunteers: I will need 5-10 volunteers to pick up a handful of care packages early December and help me spread them around your local area (or downtown Raleigh) before and after Christmas and through the winter. This is completely optional--I have several helpers already lined up so do NOT feel obligated. Honestly, the best place to find people who need these packages is downtown Raleigh or outside a homeless shelter. Be sure you feel safe and secure and it is daylight hours.
WHAT WILL I EARN FOR MY SESSION?
3 care package items = 1 free digital OR $15 credit toward prints/future session 1 larger/$$ care package item (case of water, tampons, etc) = 1 free digital OR $15 credit toward prints/future session Cash/credit donation toward care package = 1 free digital per $10 donated or $15 credit toward prints/future session (see above to checkout)
Volunteers to help deliver care packages = 1 free digital OR $10 credit per 5 care packages delivered
ANYONE can earn free digitals unless you have a package session or unlimited digitals. You can opt for the credit instead and purchase prints or apply to a new 2018 session. All digitals must be redeemed by December 23rd and all credits will expire in 1 year.