I Participated in the Junior League of Charlotte’s Little Black Dress Initiative

Junior League of Charlotte hosted its annual Little Black Dress Initiative (LBDI) February 26 through March 2. The purpose of LBDI is to raise awareness about poverty’s effects on children and families in our community. The fundraising goal was set at $60,000.

I heard about LBDI through their Instagram. Since participation was open to Junior League members and the general public, I decided to give it a try! I felt that this would be a great way to support the community by raising money and awareness for a great cause.

In preparation for LBDI, I found a black dress to wear for five days and thought about ways to accessorize. I also practiced what to say when people inquired about the campaign since participants were encouraged to wear an “Ask Me About My Dress” pin.

People asked how I felt about wearing the same dress and to honest, it really hit me the fourth day. By then I felt like I needed to wash it and it already needed to be ironed after the first day. But I didn't do anything to the dress. Why? Because people who are living in poverty can't just wash or iron clothing at ease. They have to make do with what they have, and that’s what I did.

Since this was my first time participating, I set my goal at $200. I only raised $145 but I gained a new understanding of poverty in the city of Charlotte.

Here are a few facts that I used in posts to encourage donations:

  • 50,000 children in Charlotte are currently living in poverty

  • Almost 1 in 5 children in Charlotte are currently living in poverty

  • Over 4,000 children in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools are reported homeless

  • 134,000 Charlotteans are living in poverty

The week following the LBDI, I went back to having to plan out outfits for work each day. I had gotten used to wearing the same dress so it felt weird wearing something else at first.

After participating in this campaign, I look at my wardrobe with a new set of eyes. Think about how many times have you found out about an event and said, “I have nothing to wear!” I’m also guilty. But that is a comment that I now know I shouldn’t make. I have enough options to choose from. Wearing the same dress for five days showed me what it truly means to have nothing to wear and limited resources. I’m more grateful for what I have and I’m even more inspired to give back to others. The 2018 LBDI raised a total of $66,425! This was a wonderful experience and I hope to raise money and awareness in the future with the Junior League of Charlotte Little Black Dress Initiative.

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