For one week this December, the Junior League of the Oranges & Short Hills (JLOSH) is participating in the Little Black Dress Initiative -- a national campaign that seeks to highlight the restrictions poverty places on women. Please consider supporting my efforts as I will be wearing the same black dress every day for 5 consecutive days (to work and everywhere I go) to illustrate that many women lack the access to more than one or two clothing options to wear to work. I hope to raise awareness of poverty and its associated traumas, and also demonstrate my commitment to serving and supporting my community and surrounding towns.
JLOSH is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. We believe that our mission is our members and our business is the community. Through targeted outreach and relationships with community partners, JLOSH works to close gaps in food insecurity, essential clothing needs, school supply gaps and basic hygiene needs for school-aged children living in poverty in our service area.
This past September, our members came together to ensure that as many students in the Orange Public School District could go back to school with all the school supplies they needed to have a successful start to the school year. Through individual member donations and by leveraging the gifting power of community stakeholders, JLOSH donated over 3,500 school supplies to students in need.
Later this Fall, JLOSH united with all Junior Leagues of New Jersey to mitigate the impact of elevated lead levels in residential drinking water in Newark. Together as ONE New Jersey Junior League, JLOSH helped facilitate the purchase and donation of 72,000 bottles of water that were distributed to Newark residents.
JLOSH is currently ramping up its Annual Thanksgiving Baskets program -- a program that provides a complete Thanksgiving meal to families in need in Orange, NJ. We are on target to donate well over 400 Thanksgiving dinners, complete with a turkey and all the traditional sides.
Our impact, however, is not possible without our constant fundraising. We are so grateful to our corporate sponsors and individual donors that sustain our League each year, but the need continues to grow in our service area. Children and their families rely upon us and know that our leadership and reputation as effective community servants will be one of the safety nets that mitigate the many traumas of their lives. Our fundraising efforts not only help to provide basic need items to families, but we are also able to provide up to $7,500 in community grants to deserving nonprofits that share a commitment to ensuring that the lives of school aged children are stable and met with dignity.
I have always believed that giving back is an essential part of our journeys. I also believe that until we can share an experience with someone else, and share a story together, we are not moving forward in a meaningful way. The Little Black Dress initiative tells a story. It tells a story of constraint and determination. A determination that feuls a woman to go to work each day, irrespective of what she may not have to wear to work, and to work hard -- not only for herself, but for others that rely on her. I will be proud to share that story and I hope that you not only choose to support my determination this December, but the League's journey in elevating issues that so many of us are afraid to discuss.
JLOSH Little Black Dress 2019