I love reminding myself of the tiny good things in life, like a perfect cup of coffee on a gloomy day, a meaningful text from someone you love, that perfect moment when you think you're running late to your destination but make it right on time, or how crisp the air is early in the morning. The list can go on and on. These details may be tiny but I find that acknowledging them keeps us sane on a daily basis. No matter how stressful or chaotic our days get, these tiny blessings are always around, like a silver lining. During the colder months, for me, my "little dose of goodness" is a warm jacket. It doesn't matter if I have to walk down a rainy street or run stressful errands all day, as long as I'm warm and dry - I know I can get through it. A warm jacket is like a hug on a cold day, and this year for Valentine's Day Eve, I decided I wanted more people to experience that silver lining that I adore so much and make it into a bigger cause. I wanted to do something that had to do with bettering the lives of others, even if it was in the smallest way. The goal was to hand out warm jackets to the less fortunate all around San Francisco. But, I wanted to also involve close friends and family to the cause. The first person I wanted on board as my right hand gal was my favorite girl boss and best friend, Herman Sahi(@herinfinity.) After explaining the concept to her, we immediately set out on contacting all the people we hold close to our hearts. We explained the cause to them, and asked whether they wanted to be a part of it by donating money for 1 or 2 jackets that would then be given out in the form of a "valentine" with their name on it. The amount of support we received was so overwhelming and my heart has been so full of love knowing that there are so many of you out there that believe in doing more for others in any way possible. Many people donated even more than what we asked, which meant that there were 5 or 10 valentine jackets that would be given out from them specifically. After gathering all our donations, Herman and I set out on step 1: purchasing the jackets according to how much money we had raised.
We were able to thrift over 100 plus warm jackets and sweaters and then it was on to step 2: making sure they're all squeaky clean before they reached their new owners.
We had so many jackets to wash and the wait was draining, so I decided to chill out in a cart because I'm clearly still 10 at heart. We ended up being the last ones at the laundromat that night around 10pm, but nonetheless, we left with clean jackets that night and were ready for step 3: individually packing each jacket, and personalizing the packages so they fit the valentines day theme. By the time we reached step 3, it was about 10:30 pm the night before we were supposed to hand out the jackets, so eventually, Herman and I made peace with the fact that we'd be pulling an all nighter. We were happy to do so.
Packaging each jacket, labeling it "from" the person who had donated, and hand-decorating everything was a wonderful experience, and it added a personal factor so that each new owner would know the name of the person that made it possible for them to receive a warm jacket.
After being up all night packaging, without an ounce of sleep, it was on to step 4: heading out and distributing our packages all around the city.
Handing out the jackets and seeing the unexpected and surprised look on people's faces when they realized that they were receiving something so special was absolutely priceless.
And in the process, we stumbled upon some pretty cool spots and we couldn't pass up the opportunity to take a few shots. What a break in the life of Herman and Gur looks like:
You guys know I can't pass up a good marble porch. And look at Herman casually slaying in front of the camera with that flamingo pink hair.
After a little fun in front of the camera, it was time for step 5, and our last stop of the day, visiting the St. Anthony Foundation. This is a foundation in San Francisco that provides support for those in need including food, clothing, and medical help. We decided to drop off our remaining jackets to the foundation, which were then going to be given out as "valentines" to everyone during the Valentine's Day lunch that they would be hosting. The people who helped us at the foundation were extremely kind and this couldn't have been a better end to our journey. This insured that the jackets would reach people that we couldn't during our day and add a little valentines cheer to their lives.
If you wish to be involved with the St. Anthony Foundation, please visit their website at: www.stanthonysf.org
As the day came to an end, we were greeted with a beautiful pink sunset that was a divine reminder of the silver linings I am oh so fond of, and the fact that life is truly a blessing and having the opportunity to do good for others is a special kind of blessing on its own.
Before I check out, I would like to take a moment to thank Herman for not only being a loving and caring friend, but for supporting me through my ideas and thoughts in the way that she did throughout this project. I honestly could not have done it without her being by my side every step of the way, doing half, if not more of the work that came along with it, and being the sunshine within my darkness. God always seems to bless me with the best people when I least expect it, and I am forever thankful.
Speaking of the best people I would also like to thank each and every one of my friends and family for donating and making this vision a possibility. It may be on a smaller scale, but we definitely reached a lot of people with our "warm hugs" and I know that this gift of warmth will go a long way. Every little bit helps, and together, we made a difference. Thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart.
Sending love, and light - always.