Running from Friday, December 18th until Sunday, December 27th is Whole Damn Woman’s First Annual Winter Solstice Drive. The goal of this annual drive is to help others during the darkest time of the year, when cheer and joy are marketed ad nauseum but aren’t the norm for everyone.
This year, my focus is Hawthorn Hill’s New Directions Shelter. In their words, the shelter “provides free, temporary, emergency shelter and services for homeless families with children.” A few years back, one of my introduction to sociology classes did a supply drive for the shelter, and the experience stuck with me to the point where I knew I was not done working with this organization.
If you aren’t familiar with New Directions Shelter, here’s what they did in 2019:
- “house(d) 86 families”
- “transitioned 85%” of those families “into permanent housing”
- helped 85% of their “adult clients gain employment who needed employment”
- helped 90% of their families get “free or reduced cost child care”
Simply put, their work allows families to worry less about how they will survive and think more about how they will thrive.
Moreover, New Directions Shelter does the social justice work of reducing homelessness, hunger, poverty, discrimination, and more. Of their families in 2019, 59% were from marginalized racial social groups.
This social justice work takes resources, and that’s the idea behind this drive as well as your call to action.
You can always get involved by volunteering, but you can also help from home, where we should all be while Iowa’s COVID-19 numbers remain high (especially if we are fortunate enough to have safe homes).
New Directions Shelter accepts contributions in the form of financial donations as well as supplies. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, dropping off supplies is not an option this year. So, they have an Amazon Wishlist. Kelsie Pinegar, New Directions Shelter’s program manager, stated either contribution is ideal.
I know a lot of you won’t give money to Amazon, and I’m included in that, but this is the one thing for which Amazon is good. If you’re unwilling to give Bezos another dime, that’s where the financial contributions come in handy. And as always, if you’re one of the millions of folks who do not have anything to give this year, please know you can always contribute by sharing this drive. That goes further than I’ll ever be able to explain. Please share this with family, friends, coworkers (if appropriate), on social media, and with random strangers on the internet because why not?
This is, of course, the initial announcement. You can start giving now if you want, but I’ll be sharing this again as we get closer, and I’ll post and share on Instagram every day of the drive.
Thank you, and I hope this winter is kind to you. Remember that–on the solstice–it may be the darkest day of the year, but it also signifies more light. This is our chance to be a part of that light.