The 2016 #TransForTheHolidays Season has come to an end. We couldn’t be happier with the response. For a project that was conceived quickly one day at work right before Thanksgiving, I never imagined the project getting so big, so fast. I never anticipated the support I’d get, both from friends and strangers. And more than all of that, I never imagined the way this project would affect me. People came to me in their time of need and that is incredibly humbling – I can only hope that I have helped them. I found myself attached to their stories, when they told them; like I was catching up with an old friend. I found myself wondering about the rest of their lives, worrying for their safety and searching everywhere for that one special item they asked for. There are so many feelings I have about this project and can’t wait for more in 2017. Let me break some things down about this year’s project.
Ask for Help: We received a total of 35 requests from 17 states – for those of you following along on our Facebook Page, you may recognize some of these infographics….
Most (82%) of the packages we sent out were for guys…
And most were between the ages of 15-22.
The care packs included everything from toiletries to gift cards and snacks…we sent a LOT of snacks.
We still want to do more in 2017, but I’ll get to that in the “Signal Boost” updates below.
The average value of each care pack was approximately $25.00 and average shipping costs were just under $9.00 each. All but one package was delivered before Christmas, with one that seems to be a little misplaced right now. We’re keeping an eye on that and will reship if it doesn’t get found soon. We did get some requests we hadn’t anticipated (Steam Gift Cards, shoes) so we’re making adjustments for 2017 to hopefully be able to better accommodate those.
Donate: Like I said above, we got donations from friends, family, strangers and we put some in ourselves, as well. We received $295 in cash donations, which was primarily put toward shipping costs, and just under $1000 worth of items, including toiletries and gift items for people. We’re hoping to be more organized next year and be even better. The Amazon Wishlist and the PayPal are still up, as we’ll start building our 2017 stock now and work through the year to build it up. Even if you can only afford $1, it really adds up quickly if everyone gives a little. There are also a few items on the wishlist (boxes, labels, tape, drawer units) right now that will help us with organization, storage and shipping…obviously we’re not looking to fill care packs with those. We’re also compiling a list of companies to reach out to for donations in 2017 and working on becoming a 501c3 nonprofit. We’ve gotten lots of offers of help getting the 501 off the ground from people that have experience with that, so we’re hopeful that’ll get done early.
Signal Boost: Point of Pride shared our efforts and thousands of people saw our work through there. Several hundred actually clicked through to the blog in just a couple of days. It was phenomenal to watch the activity peak and the requests come in.
Which leads me to 2017 and wanting to do more. This was an incredible start, but I don’t feel like I’m done by any means. But now I have one more favor to ask of everyone: tell me what you’d like to see from us in 2017. We plan to work hard to bring #TransForTheHolidays back better than this year, but like we’ve mentioned a few times, we’d like to make this into a year round program, somehow. So use the form below to send some info about what you’d like to see in 2017…even if it sounds outlandish – give me some ideas. No name or email address required, but you’re welcome to provide them.
Finally – last night but not least – Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and a general happy holidays to everyone. Please know that even if you’re going home to unsupportive families – you are loved and you are valued and your identity is valid. Please reach out for help if you need it.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline
Crisis Text Line
TEXT “GO” TO 741741