Every new season we all have a desire to get rid of a bunch of accumulated items in our closet over the year; the reality of it is we are quite lazy to think about all the work to get it done right? Sometimes a little motivation with a positive end goal, in a short time frame can be a true kick-starter. At the beginning of October 2018, NEFË decided to associate with a local women's homeless shelter, Chez Doris
and create an event for the women called Beauty By US
. Spontaneous as we are, we brought our idea to one of the members at Chez Doris
, Joelle. She was pleasantly open and looking forward to our event.
The Beauty By US event was inspired by a segment from a reality show and thought it was an amazing idea that we wanted to bring to life to the women in Montreal. The event was a day of shopping (free from the donations we collected) , food and Mani-pedis. A little shopping and pampering ain't never hurt nobody!
But first , ahem...a little back story about this amazing shelter, Chez Doris : It is a charitable organization offering a daytime shelter 7 days a week for all women in difficulty. The house provides meals, respite, clothing, socio-recreational activities as well as practical assistance in a secure and accepting environment. It's vision is to give women in need a safe and nonjudgmental environment where confidentiality is assured. They pride themselves in being welcoming, secure, inclusive, confidential, respectful, supportive and providing a helpful environment for every woman who passes through their doors.
Nonetheless, we contacted a local artist (Eriamhtl
on Instagram) and worked with her to create a multi-ethnic drawing that would be the main image of our take care cards for the women. As you saw in the featured image, there's a variety of our friends of different backgrounds from the Philippines, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Native American, Chinese and so forth. Behind each of these cards, we asked our lovely friends to each tell us what would be one quote you would say to another woman to keep them going in hard times (see picture above). They came up with pretty creative ones ; from personal to lyrics from a hip hop artist. Say what??
After a month of creating a Facebook event and promoting it daily on our social media page and personal pages (sorry not sorry for the excess bombarding), we collected more than enough items for the women. We sorted out each donations we received into their respective categories. We were donated handmade gift baskets with a myriad of necessities and goodies to be won by raffle tickets after the event.
The event took place in the upper social area at Chez Doris on November 3rd 2018. The women who wanted to participate were place on participation list and they came in groups, seeing as the area could not fit everyone at the same time. As they entered, they received a paper bag where they would find the care card. They overlooked different tables with bags and shoes, clothes, winter/spring jackets, dresses, intimates, and accessories. We also set up a table for nail care and nail color. Of course with "shopping" for clothes you get a little hungry, we had a table with various finger foods , drinks and desert for the ladies. We can admit, the event was right after their lunch period, but who really can resist a piece of a super amazing crumble apple pie? We couldn't!
As one group finished in the allocated time, the following group entered and got their turn. It was an amazing experience seeing them very happy and searching for things they needed. One lady said to one of our volunteer Genevieve " these are nicer than some of the things we usually get!" or "Do you think this looks cute on me? I really like it!" to our volunteer Shanelle. This right here shows you that , despite our circumstances and who we are as a person, women always want to make sure they look beautiful for themselves! It was a heart warming event that everyone enjoyed. We definitely look forward to do something similar with them again in the future!
Of course, we couldn't finish off this article by not directing you to visit chedoris.org
or if you are in the Montreal, Quebec area to visit them directly on 1430 rue Chomedey in the downtown area. You can drop your donations such as food (non perishable), toiletries, gift cards, household items, clothing and many more. Please be mindful of the seasons; the shelter may need more of certain items at different times. If you enjoy getting involved in community work or just helping out, you can easily drop in or call to become a volunteer.
Below are some pictures of the event. Please visit our Instagram page
highlights under "Events" for upcoming events.
Above: The women "shopping" for their items. There is a lot more clothing then we were able to place on the rack!
Below: Table set for a quick nail care and some colour!
Left: Overview of the event, volunteers and raffled gift baskets. Right: Our volunteer Stenia, serving some finger food for the women.
Somewhere, someone can use what you don't need. Pay it forward, without any returns.