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Dec 12.18

Because Dignity is Beautiful - How one Charity Pot partner spreads holiday cheer

Posted In: Charity Pot

We recently had a chance to sit down with Caroline MacGillivray, the founder of Beauty Night Society, one of the charities we support through sales of our Charity Pot hand and body lotion. Beauty Night is a volunteer-run, registered Canadian charity dedicated to helping impoverished women living in Vancouver, B.C.’s Downtown Eastside. They do this through building self-esteem and dignity with three streams of programs: wellness, life skills development and makeovers, which are offered 4 to 6 times per week. We asked Caroline to share more about Beauty Night, and what they do around the holidays to spread cheer.

How did Beauty Night get started?

"I started volunteering at a shelter in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside to do research for a film role I was preparing for. One night, one of the women who came in was trying to curl her hair. Due to some injuries she was unable to do it herself. I offered to do it for her. Afterwards she hugged me and thanked me for making her feel "human." As I continued to volunteer, more women asked me to do their hair and makeup. I spoke to the center and offered to hold a "beauty night" for the women. Since then we have held hundreds of Beauty Nights in the Vancouver area, Prince George, Toronto and Victoria. Currently we are based in the Vancouver area and offer programming 4 -6 nights each week."

How many women does Beauty Night reach, and what has been the impact that you have seen in women involved in Beauty Night?

"38, 000 makeovers in 13 years! Many people feel isolated by poverty, hunger, homelessness violence, addiction, mental ill health and disease. Beauty Night is a beautiful way to connect our participants. When people feel good, they have hope. When they have hope, they believe change is possible. Many of our participants have become friends, reconnect with friends and family. Many become volunteers and access the services from our community partners. Several women have found employment."

How does Beauty Night spread holiday cheer to those in the community?

"Every year we do a holiday stocking drive. Fashion designer, Nancy Perreault designs a stocking. Teams of community members, girl guides, corporate partners, and students sew, decorate and collect personal care items to fill them. During the month of December, our Beauty Night elves deliver 1500 stockings."

How did you come up with the idea, and how have others contributed to the stocking initiative?

"Originally we gave away gift bags at each Beauty Night. For the holiday season, we wanted it to be more impactful. The first year we made faux fur zebra striped ones. Since then Nancy made some wonderful recommendations for fabric and design. Companies such as Reel Curtains and Tritech Fabrics donate fabric. Hundreds of volunteers make it possible."

What has the reaction been from women living in the Downtown Eastside who have received stockings?

"Joy and delight. I believe the holiday season can be felt 365 days each year. However we can make other people's eyes light up the way children's do when they get something they really want is one of the best things in this world. Over the years there have been some moments that have moved me. One year we met a woman who was hiding in a shelter with a broken nose. She started to cry when we gave her a stocking. She wasn't expecting to receive anything for Christmas."

LUSH has been proud to partner with Beauty Night Society; we have been fortunate enough to donate gifts to fill the stockings, and over the past few holiday seasons, our employees have volunteered to stuff and hand out stockings. Thank you Beauty Night for including us in your heart-warming holiday tradition! To learn more, watch Caroline MacGillevray’s Ted X Talk here, and visit the Beauty Night website.