Hi! If you haven’t read my post from last week, go ahead and do that first.
Last week’s challenge was donating to a teacher in any sort of way. I ended up getting prayer requests more than anything and talked a little with a friend frustrated with the way her school was running things. Teaching is hard! If you know a teacher, say thanks and maybe buy them a coffee.
Every week challenge for the month of March has something to do with money and I’ve really been struggling with how to make these challenges inclusive.
This week, we are supposed to donate to a women’s shelter.
Here in Raleigh, there’s a church that accepts clothing donations that they distribute to our city’s homeless population. I have a bag of clothes that I just don’t wear anymore, so I plan to give that. We also have a few women’s shelters in the area we can financially give to.
If you can’t money, I get it.
So here’s an idea: There are people living on the streets. If we can’t take care of them as a society, the least we could do is make sure our streets are clean. Is that fair to say? Stop littering. Tell your friends to stop littering.
There’s another big thing we aren’t doing enough of and that’s writing our government representatives at the local, state, and federal levels. This week, do some research. Ask your reps what they are doing for the homeless populations in our country. This population includes youth, people with addictions who need help, the LGBT community (especially young POC), veterans, etc. There’s a social group in there that I know you want to fight for. Come up with some ideas. Write, call, email. Your representatives are powerful people that are meant to work for YOU. Remind them of it.
I’ve also been thinking about the clothes I actually end up donating. Typically we buy clothes on a whim and then decide we don’t like them. We probably buy from a fast fashion line (meaning, in a nutshell, sweat shops & low cost of production). These clothes aren’t lasting and the environmental and social impact they have is greater than we realize. And that’s what I am donating? The second hand items that I’m too good for? That’s not selfless at all. Yes, donating is better than trashing, but this is something I’m struggling with. If I see myself high enough to spend $50 on a nice and sustainable shirt, shouldn’t I believe others to be worthy of dressing the same? Should we be buying sustainable clothing to donate to those who can’t yet afford it themselves? Probably.
Like I said, tying in environmental practices to actual social issues is something I’m very new in. I’m glad this challenge has, well, challenged me to brainstorm and broaden the horizons of what being an environmentalist actually means to me.
If you have some ideas on how to empower homeless populations, with a special focus on women this month, please comment below! It’s so important to learn from each other. And I’m really just rambling and have a lot to learn here.
PS: To highlight some women that I’ve been learning from recently, here are some links:
Kathryn Kellogg, Going Zero Waste
Hilary Kearney, Beekeeper at Girl Next Door Honey
Callee, Founder and (new) zero waste shopkeeper of Bestowed Essentials. She also has a podcast, where she can introduce you to OTHER great women that focus on sustainability. Like a chain reaction, people.
Not a link, but reading Maya Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings and the Diary of Anne Frank. Learn from women, all ages.
Jameela Jamil, Actress and Founder of (empowering women at) I Weigh
Lights, Musician and person that pointed out I should care about music produced by women