Last week I went to Boston for the Massachusetts Conference for Women. I scheduled this trip in an effort to network with inspiring women from all walks of life while challenging myself to think outside of the [Boca] box relative to new and exciting opportunities. Surrounded by the likes of keynote speakers including but not limited to mega influencers Emily Nussbaum, Sophia Amoruso and writer, executive producer and creator of the ABC series Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal, Shonda Rhimes, I knew the event would be eye-opening.
The conference was certainly thought provoking and extremely empowering to say the least; however I had another experience while in Boston that completely blew me away!
In order to clarify, allow me to back up for a moment….
A few months ago I had placed a bulk order of Silver Unpolished sweatpants with the intention of selling the merchandise to my readers. The shipment came in and the sizing was a hot mess. In good conscience, I could not sell the units. I didn’t want the shipment to be all for naught. If I couldn’t get paid for the product, maybe I could pay the product forward. But how?
I decided to parlay my trip to Boston for the conference into an unpolished chance to give back to those in need. I contacted a local homeless shelter in the city and asked if they would accept my donation while I was in town.
Rosie’s Place, a sanctuary for poor and homeless women in Boston’s South End was more than happy to receive the sweats and offered me a tour of the facility upon my arrival. I willingly agreed and anxiously looked forward to getting a first hand look into a seemingly unknown world.
It was lunchtime when I entered. The foyer was mobbed. It was loud. Throngs of women, or guests as they are respectfully referred, were patiently waiting in line to sign up for advocacy services.
As I was introduced to the In-Kind Donation Coordinator one of the guests appeared before us and politely interrupted. She looked me in the eye and said with a huge grin on her face, “Hey little mama, I’m sorry but I just wanted to get a hug from my friend.” I smiled as the two women lovingly embraced each other. I couldn’t help but to say aloud, “Wow, it really seems like a family here.” Both the donation coordinator and the Rosie’s Place guest whole-heartedly agreed.
Rosie’s Place does not accept any city, state or federal funding; rather the establishment is fueled solely on the support of individuals, foundations and corporations. Because Rosie’s Place operates through the private sector, they are able to provide wide range assistance to their guests without having to follow government guidelines. Other than the single exception of having to be female, there are no requirements necessary to qualify. The doors are always open 24-7-365 to any woman in need; no questions asked! The women are not even obliged to give their name should they wish to remain anonymous.
Whether the guests need help polishing their resumés or are looking for legal guidance relative to eviction prevention and back bills or if they require medical care or perhaps if they are seeking aid to increase their skills and self-sufficiency, Rosie’s Place has an endless number of programs to help women maintain their dignity while finding security in their lives.
Meals are served everyday at Rosie’s Place with the help of countless volunteers. The warm, inviting dining room provides more than 100,000 nutritionally-balanced breakfasts, lunches and dinners annually. Fresh food is prepped and cooked on site as well as brought in through the partnership Rosie’s Place has established with Lovin Spoonfuls, a 501c3, non-profit organization that facilitates the recovery and distribution of perishable and non perishable foods that would otherwise be discarded.
One of the things that amazed me while in the kitchen was the way the volunteers treat their guests at mealtime. The philosophy at Rosie’s Place is one which empowers women to feel important and valued. It is also one which allows them to feel as safe and relaxed as if they were in the comfort of their own home. Rather than stand in a crowded line to grab a tray of food, guests are seated and served much like patrons in a restaurant. For many women this might be the only point in the day to get respite and Rosie’s Place strives for each and every guest to know they are worthy of such.
The tour continued with the Communications Coordinator showing me the food pantry which impressively looked more like a well stocked grocery store than just a small shelf to house goods! Women are eligible to shop once a month for up to 20 to 40 pounds of food which best suits their family’s needs.
An Education Center, Wellness Center, laundry room, shower room, lockers, writing café, iPad lab, career planning, language classes, tutoring, walking/running groups, art workshops, movies in the sitting room and musical performances are just some of the many, many services Rosie’s Place offers.
The overnight shelter was the last stop on the tour. Upstairs at Rosie’s Place I found what was reminiscent of a youth hostel but better. Picture a small dorm floor; kinda like a mini hotel. Therein I saw individual rooms which collectively accommodates twenty beds (two beds per room). Guests are selected by lottery to stay up to three consecutive weeks with the purpose of having a sense of security knowing a safe place to sleep for a extended period of time exists. A full-sized kitchen and living room is also available to guests residing for overnight stays.
When we wrapped the tour I felt compelled to let my guide know that while I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect upon my arrival I certainly didn’t expect to feel the high level of joy and positivity which exuded throughout the entire facility. Never did I think such warmth and love could radiate from a homeless shelter. Perhaps it was my unpolished naivety but I guess I assumed the Rosie’s Place environment would be gloomy, depressing, dirty and cold. To my pleasant surprise, the feeling I got was the complete opposite. Rosie’s Place reminded me of being in a cheerful, uplifting, bright and thriving community center filled with inspiration and hope for the future.
I am humbled to have had the opportunity to learn about this important Boston landmark. Should you find yourself in the South End this winter, keep a look out for the women who are actively turning their lives around with the selfless and tireless help of the staff and volunteers at Rosie’s Place. How will you know who these women are? That’s easy….The guests will be stylin’ and kept warm in their new prettywittygritty Silver Unpolished sweatpants!
JUST TO LET YOU KNOW…. To learn more about Rosie’s Place located at 889 Harrison Avenue Boston, MA 02118 please visit online by clicking HERE or calling 617-442-9322.
7 responses to “Project Unpolished Pants At Rosie's Place”
You sure have traveled a long road from Pinecliffe. You were captain there and still captain.
Im so glad i met u in Boston!!!
Your the greatest and God will bless you on your journey of giving!!!!
Rachel!! That’s an amazing thing to read! So uplifting but even more spectacular is that you made lemonade (donation and educating others about this special place) out of lemons (dysfunctional merchandise). Truly inspiring!!!
We always forget there is a world outside of 33498. Beautiful. Inspiring.
Beautiful polished story… My dear unpolished friend-