Monday, November 30, 2015

Giving Back

One of the best parts about having a long-term relationship with a brand is when they give me the freedom to create the kind of content that I am truly passionate about.  Those of you who read regularly know that I have been partnering with POND'S for the last 6 months to create monthly posts centered around skin care & beauty.  This month I wanted to do something a little different & I am so grateful to POND'S for agreeing to my concept for this post & for generously donating a tremendous amount of product for a great cause.  My long-term goal is to create more posts focused on giving back and helping those in our communities who are in need.   

While I was cleaning & organizing my bathroom the other day, I realized the excessive amount of beauty, hair & skin care products I have that I'm not even using.  There were at least a dozen samples I'd received - lotions, lip glosses, shampoo and more that had never been opened.  Honestly, I felt a little ashamed and embarrassed by the surplus & I knew there was a way that I could use these products to bring a little joy to someone, rather than being wasteful by letting them sit on a shelf.  So I did a some research & found that there is a battered women's shelter in my city that houses women & children in emergency situations. After speaking with the director, I learned that there is always a need for these types of products because, in most cases, the women are leaving their homes at a moment's notice and only have time to grab a few essentials to take with them.  

I have always believed that every woman deserves to feel beautiful & special, no matter where she comes from or what her circumstances are.  So with POND'S help, I decided to create several gift baskets to donate to this women's shelter.  I sourced the baskets at my local Goodwill for just a few dollars a piece.  Then, in addition to what POND'S sent, I raided my own personal beauty stash and also bought a few extra hair care & beauty items.  I loved getting to add the products to these baskets, knowing that they will bless women who are going through such a difficult time and that it will help them to feel cared for.  My prayer is that these products will offer them hope and restore their sense of dignity & self-esteem.

For confidentiality & safety reasons, we weren't allowed to take pictures at the center or once we were inside.  But being there had such a profound impact on me that I'm confident this won't be the last time I'll be donating to help this cause.  It broke my heart to see the faces of these women & to know what they are going through, especially with Christmas just around the corner.  It truly opened my eyes to the needs all around me & it has challenged me to think about more ways I can begin to give back in my local community & beyond.

As we enter the holiday season, I know many of you are making plans to give to charities or donate to various causes, in addition to what you may already regularly contribute.  This is such a great way to give back that feels more personal than simply writing a check.  Every center is different, but the director I met with said that they are also in need of feminine hygiene items, travel-sized toiletries and stuffed animals, books & toys (many of these women have small children they are bringing with them who end up leaving most of their belongings behind).  If you're a mom, you can get your kids involved in the process (it's a great teaching moment) and if don't yet have kids, you can invite some girlfriends over (or several different couples) for an evening to build the baskets and then deliver them together as a group.  I hope this post will encourage you to look for ways you can be a blessing to others this holiday season!

This post was created in connection with my appointment as Influencer for POND'S.
All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.
All proceeds from this post have been donated to the local women's shelter mentioned above.


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