Posted By: Alex
You may recall from our blog last month that Neon Canvas has made it a priority to give back to the community this year. Each month, a team member will pick an organization or event for us to connect with. Recently, we had our first chance to do this when our in-house designer Jesi put us in touch with the Mariposas Collective.
This Memphis-based grassroots organization is dedicated to helping immigrants and asylum-seekers who are newly arrived in the city, either to stay or as they are passing through to their final destination. These are often families that have been detained while crossing the southern border, then released and bused to other parts of the country. Volunteers with the Mariposas Collective meet these families with food, water, medicine, and toys for the children. They believe that this is a mission of simple human kindness, and after spending a day with them, we couldn’t agree more.
One of the most important volunteer opportunities for those looking to get involved with Mariposas Collective is brown bag assembly. This is what our team signed up for, working out of the organization’s hub at First Congo church in Midtown. Volunteers work in shifts receiving and sorting donations and preparing bag lunches that will usually include a sandwich, fresh fruit, and a snack. After the meals are prepared, another group of volunteers will transport supplies to the bus station to pass out. Mariposas Collective have a system set up where they are able to send one interpreter and two community members to meet every bus that’s coming through the city.
During our shift, team members made up almost 100 sandwiches and helped bag almost as many snacks and lunches. Some of us put together containers of wet wipes in Kleenex in baggies to be passed out with the lunch bags. We also sorted through clothing donations, including winter coats. While Mariposas Collective is constantly accepting food donations, many of the families coming through Memphis do not have appropriate winter clothing. Throughout these cold winter months, there’s a constant need for warm clothing such as jeans, sweats, sweaters, jackets, and coats for men, women, and children of all ages. Hats, scarves, and gloves are also welcome, as a significant number of these families are moving on to places with temps that are far colder than our own!
Working with the Mariposas Collective was a moving, humbling experience for all of us, and we are grateful that we had the chance to reach out to these families at such a difficult and vulnerable time. This touched us all in our own way, but we think our SEO guru, Theron Fly put it best:
“Providing kindness to others goes beyond political, ethnic, and religious boundaries. We may not be able to walk a mile in these people’s shoes, but we should be more than happy to walk a few steps next to them when we have that opportunity.”
Thanks for following along on our journey to give back to the city we love! Check back with us in a few weeks to see where we end up in March.
How to Donate
- Toiletry bags of travel-sized toothpaste, deodorant, toothbrushes
- Coats (all sizes)
- Hats, gloves & scarves
- Bottled water
- Coloring books & crayons
Two Rivers Bookstore Donation Drive
How to Volunteer
To volunteer for brown bag assembly, sign up for a shift here.
Training Sessions for Bus Support are every Monday and Thursday at 6 pm at First Congo.