Just days after ringing in New Year’s 2020, I flew off to Eastern Europe to start a new film project. I knew I’d be gone for about 3 months and my biggest concern was how much I would miss my animals and my loved ones. I wouldn’t have any time off, so I knew it was a straight long haul until we finished.
Little did I (or anyone else) know how the world would change in just a few short months. Coming back to my hotel after long hours, I would sit exhausted on my bed and stare at the headlines in disbelief. My heart broke for the people in China, followed by the surge in Italy, France and all of Europe.
Then it hit the U.S.
Unemployment mixed with school closures was happening in my own backyard. I wasn’t home… but watching the numbers climb made me panic for all of the parents and children who wouldn’t be able to survive the day-to-day struggle.
There have been days during this crisis where I have felt completely helpless. But I didn’t want to stay paralyzed.
I called my friend and business partner with an idea. Our business is sustainable clothing, so what is in our wheelhouse that could help?
We needed to generate money for the groups dedicating their lives to the wellbeing of others. I’d been in touch with my friend Kate who works at Save the Children to see what their load was during this crisis.
They were simply overwhelmed with need. Children in low-income families are now out of two, sometimes three, free or low-cost meals a day. Life-saving supplies and support for healthcare workers and their families, in addition to packing and delivery for those needs, were starting to spiral out of control.
Tens of millions of children are affected. We’ve never seen these numbers because we’ve never been in a situation like this.
Simply put, we MUST do what we can for one another or the damage to families will be too much for our communities to bear.
On that phone call, we decided to create a product for the sole benefit of Save The Children. Although it sounded like a nice idea, the reality of the logistics was an uphill battle—to say the least. How were we going to get anything made in a lockdown?
I’m the CEO of Qeep Up, but I’m also the official company dreamer. (This can be good or a complete pain in the ass, depending on how you want to look at it ) If you’re my Chief Operating Officer, you may need to throw your head in your hands for a minute before shooting back up and rallying for the challenge. Then again, my people are so capable, I think they just get to it. In fact, I’m probably just talking about my own process. Haha!
We all got to work and I have to tell you… people DO rise to the challenge. People DO care more about each other than I may have even realized. People want to help, inspire, provide and be challenged. And they did.
I get choked up writing this because I think about my team, our vendors, and the many calls, emails, packages and schedules needed to make this happen. People worked alone, from home, every step of this process. Finishing one step, then shipping the product off to the next person in order to get it done. It’s on-going as we speak and I need to tell you this because I need to thank them. All of them.
To the dedicated workers and volunteers at Save the Children, THANK YOU for all that you do. Our world is a better place because of you. To my vendors and suppliers who made the impossible possible, THANK YOU for understanding what this could mean to so many families. To every person who is risking their lives on the front lines of this epidemic, including my aunt in New York, we ALL owe you a debt of gratitude we can never repay.
Finally to my incredible, FULLY female team at Qeep Up… You are my light at the end of every tunnel. Your dedication and professionalism are dwarfed only by your enormous loving hearts. THANK YOU for fulfilling my crazy dreams, but mostly for inspiring me on this valuable journey. I LOVE YOU.
Please order your Save The Children limited edition tee here—100% of profits go directly to helping those in need during this crisis.