Bright pink makeup bags made their way to homeless women and sex trade workers around Vernon last week, courtesy of one Vernon resident who wants to help them obtain something not normally found in donation boxes: confidence.
Tabitha has lived in Vernon her whole life and has been through hard times herself in the past. Now she owns a small beauty box company out of her home, and instead of launching a new line this month, she decided to put her products into personalized packages and donate them to underprivileged women in the community.
(Tabitha chose to conceal her last name so as to preserve her anonymity while she continues to make donations).
“These women sleep and survive with nothing over their heads,” said Tabitha. “It’s nice for women to feel like women every once in a while.”
Tabitha called several local groups involved with helping the street-entrenched or underprivileged populations, but they told her they could only drop off the packages at assisted living houses.
Wanting to give to those without provided housing, Tabitha arranged a drop-off herself.
She sent out 20 bags to women in Vernon, each one stuffed with brand new eye shadow, a hairbrush, lipstick and skincare products, among other luxury items. She guesses the value of each bag to be about $60 or more.
“The makeup I put together is all high-end makeup,” said Tabitha. “The stuff I put in those bags are easy and simple, and it’s all uplifting stuff.”
Tabitha tailored the bags for women who don’t have regular bathroom access.
“I made sure it was all grab-and-go stuff,” she explained.
What’s more, it’s not the first time she’s donated in this way. Since getting into makeup two years ago Tabitha has given out personalized beauty kits to women she encounters who she feels could use one. She describes one example of an upstairs neighbour who was in distress.
“There was a lady upstairs who was fighting with her husband and the police came, and it happened a few times. She needed a boost, so I just knocked on her door and left one outside the door for her.”
Tabitha plans to send out more bags from her own collection of products, using a different coloured bag each time.
“I’ll keep doing it. I’m not going to say when and I’m not going to announce it or say where they’re going,” she said. “I like surprising people.”
She also wants to make sure that people don’t congregate around a certain area, and new women receive bags each time.
Now six years clean, happily married and running her own business, Tabitha posits herself as an example for those who feel trapped in street-entrenched life.
“I did it, and they can too.”
While Tabitha says she enjoys the feeling of helping others, she wished to maintain her anonymity so as to keep the focus on those in need.
“This wasn’t about me, this was about the street-level women and making them feel like women, even for one moment.”