As summer draws to an end, and the holiday season approaches, now is the time to reflect upon the ways in which we can give back to our community. It’s not just large corporations and companies that can pay it forward. As individuals, and as a small business, it feels good to leave our piece of the world a little better than we found it. At Sullivan’s Pin-ups, we want to talk about charitable outreach and what our efforts will be geared toward this holiday season and for the upcoming year of 2017.
In 2013 and 2014, our charitable focus was Toys for Tots. The year that we moved into our studio, we held an open house with a pin-up pageant. We decided then, that in the years to follow, we would hold the pageant annually and incorporate a fundraising element, a way for us to give back to those in need. In 2015, we were able to raise $1,200 for Tracey’s Hope.
Our mission from there on out, was to make the pageant/fundraiser bigger, better and badder with each new year. The beneficiary for 2016 was the Keystone Warriors. The Keystone Warriors Foundation is a Pennsylvania based nonprofit organization that awards grants and scholarships to U.S. military personnel, and their immediate family members, who were Wounded in Action, Killed In Action, or Missing In Action post 9/11 with connections to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. We raised a little over $1,700, making this year’s fundraiser our biggest to date. We have decided that the Keystone Warriors will be our beneficiary for 2017 as well.
We insist that at least one, if not more, representatives from the charity are present at our fundraising event. Not only do we want to get to know the people behind the organization we are supporting, but we feel it’s important that everyone attending is confident that the money is going to the charity we say it is. The charity leaves that day with the cash in hand, using the funds however they wish to further their cause.
As of this year, Sullivan’s Pin-ups has committed to supporting/raising money for our troops, particularly veterans. Local organizations that support our troops will be our chosen beneficiaries for all future fundraising endeavors. We feel strongly about supporting those who have fought for our freedom. It is our duty as Americans to do everything we can to see they have their needs met, no matter how big or small. These men and women laid their lives on the line for our country.
In Pennsylvania alone, there is just under 940,000 veterans residing in our state based on a 2014 report from the National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics. According to a research study by the RAND Corporation, there are about 2.7 million American veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (compared to 2.6 million veterans who fought in Vietnam). Looking into it further, some of the statistics we found surrounding homelessness and veterans were shocking.
According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, it was noted that the number of homeless veterans in America estimated at 49,933 as of January 2014. About one-third of homeless veterans were stationed in a war zone at some time. Two-thirds of homeless vets served their country for at least three years. Poverty, lack of support from groups or networks, and substandard housing puts about 1.4 million veterans at risk for homelessness. More than 40,000 homeless vets receive compensation or pension benefits each month, but that’s not enough to find affordable housing. More than 50% of homeless veterans suffer from disabilities.
Our military men and women return from overseas and face many challenges integrating back into civilian life after sacrificing their lives to protect and serve our country, our freedom, and our lives. Some come home with wounds both seen and unseen. We believe every individual is capable of making a difference in the lives of our soldiers. We choose to give back by supporting the organizations that provide our veterans with the help they need and grant them access to available resources. Sullivan’s Pin-ups wants to show our appreciation for all that our service men and women have done for our country.
This winter, we will be hosting a super fun event on Saturday, December 3 with the intent of turning the studio into a drop-off center for the collection of new or gently used coats that will be donated to the Homeless Veterans Center in downtown Scranton. Please stay tuned for more details!
And please remember, we offer a military discount for those who are in the military or those who are the spouse of someone who is. They can be active duty or a veteran.