It was late October and I was digging through my winter clothes bin to put away my summer/fall clothes and I came upon a pile of my coats and scarves that have been untouched in years. I put them in a bag and labeled it “donations”. Over the course of a few days, while looking at that bag, thoughts clouded my mind about the less fortunate suffering through these harsh Chicago Winters. A few days later, while cruising in my friend Bradley’s car, I briefly mentioned to him that I was thinking of doing a winter coat drive.
I knew I wanted to serve families affected by domestic and sexual violence. This has always had a special place in my heart. I work as a DV advocate. I represent DV victims in court. I petition clients under VAWA (Violence Against Women’s Act), and more. I witness firsthand how strong these individuals are, and how often when leaving these situations, they leave with ONLY what is on their back. So, for those very reasons, I knew my cause was meant to help out the Domestic Violence Shelters in Chicago.
I researched and reached out to as many shelters in Chicago as I could. I informed them of my intent to collect winter attire and raise money to purchase things for the shelter during this holiday season. The shelters made wish lists of clothes, toys, and necessities. The beneficiaries were:
- Apna Ghar
- Neopolitan Lighthouse
- Connections for Abused Women and their Children
- Family Rescue
- House of Good Shepherd Center and their Homeless Center
- The Salvation Army
From there, I put together what I dubbed as my “Sany Delight’s Winter Coats & Warm Clothes Drive” benefiting Domestic and Sexual Violence Victims and their Children. There were two components to this cause. First, collect as many winter coats and warm attire as possible. The warm attire included new socks, beanies, gloves, scarves, and outerwear. Second component consisted of a fundraiser. I would sell raffle tickets to raise money to purchase items for a) the domestic violence shelters; and b) toys for the holiday season.
Then, I reached out to some businesses that I have worked with throughout Chicago and asked if they could host a box for donations. All of them agreed and boxes were placed at their business for 2 weeks until December 9th.
THANK YOU TO THE FOLLOWING BUSINESSES for supporting the cause!
- Fit Results Gym
- The Cryo Bar
- Son Of A Butcher By Whisk Restaurant
- Whisk Chicago Restaurant
- Bottom Line Yoga
Bradley helped me purchase the boxes as well as some arts & crafts to decorate them. Annie, a graphic designer created an info flier that was placed on the boxes as well as use on social media. After the two weeks were up, with the help of some friends (Thank you TJ, Barbie, & Sal), we collected the boxes and sorted the clothing out at Bottom Line Yoga according to the shelters request. The clothes that didn’t match what the shelters were asking for were placed into donations and dropped off at the Salvation Army.
As for the second part, the raffle, I reached out to businesses that I have worked with in the past and asked if they would donate things in order to incentivize and entice people to purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win things. For two and a half weeks, from the start of my clothing drive, up to December 2nd, raffle tickets were being sold for a chance to win 10 themed packages that I curated.
On December 2nd, the main event held at Son Of a Butcher by Whisk allowed for final donation drop offs, raffle purchases and an opportunity to eat some bomb food there at a discounted price. Dope music was played thanks to my boys from Lost In Kyoto.
Those who purchased raffle tickets got to choose where they wanted their raffle tickets to go. The 10 packages were:
- Maelle Beauty Skin & Beauty Bundle
- Scratch Goods Foodgrade Skincare and Wellness Bundle
- All Things Chicago Bundle
- Holiday Soiree Bundle
- The Whisk Family Approves Bundle
- Vive Float Studio – Rest & Recovery Center Bundle
- Chicago Lifestyle Bundle
- Self Care Bundle
- Nike, Nike Chicago Bundle
- CLIF Bar Feed Your Adventure Bundle
In summary, what started off as a crazy idea, turned into something so beautiful and magical, all within a short six weeks. The final last 2.5 was the icing on the cake, because at the end of it all, *WE* raised $1467 and collected over 11 bags of donatable clothes!
With that $1467, we were able to purchase everything on the wish list of the shelters in addition to purchasing an additional 200 pairs of brand new socks to give away.
Thank you to these key players: Bradley for listening to my crazy ideas and helping me with its preparation throughout the event. To Annie for designing the flier. To Fit Results Chicago, Bottom Line Yoga, Whisk Group, The Cryo Bar for allowing me to host a donation box there. To TJ and Sal for helping me collect and sort the donations. To Bottom Line Yoga for lending your studio to help sort the donations. To Trang and Poulami for helping me put together the prizes and sale of the raffle tickets the day of. To the Whisk family for allowing me to use their space on the day of the event, as drop off centers, and use of their van. To Nike, Vive, CLIF Bar, The Cryo Bar, Whisk Group, Maelle Beauty, and Scratch Goods for your generous contributions to the raffle. To AJ for being the photographer and capturing the event on December 2nd. To Lost in Kyoto for djing and supplying music at the event. To Barbie for helping me sort the donations, and taking me to Costco to help purchase the stuff for the shelters. To Amanda for being my assistant on the day of the drop off. And last but certainly not least, to everyone who donated, purchased raffle tickets, and came out to support!
All of this would not have been possible without the community coming together!