Did you know that if we gathered everyone living in poverty in Buncombe County together at McCormick Field, we could fill the stadium more than nine times?
During the week of April 3-7, over 20 JLA members participated in our first Little Black Dress Initiative (LBDI), a campaign to raise awareness of the challenges that face the over 37,000 citizens living in poverty in Buncombe County. Each participating member wore the same black dress or black outfit for five days in a row and paired it with a button that said “Ask me about my dress.” The Little Black Dress Initiative originated at the Junior League of London in 2014 and has since been adopted by several other Junior Leagues around the world.
JLA’s goal with our first LBDI was to raise awareness of the difficulties facing those who are in need and have few resources, to understand how limited resources can affect daily life, to educate the community about the Junior League of Asheville and our efforts to help those women and children living in poverty, and, finally, to train and empower our members to be advocates for causes they care about. We are pleased to report that we accomplished all of our goals and even raised over $1,500 to support the League’s programs!
Members spent the week sharing many statistics and facts about poverty in the Asheville area on social media, as well as describing their experience as they put on the same dress for five straight days. Many members commented that their participation resulted in several impactful conversations about poverty with co-workers, friends, family, and even strangers. If you would like to see some of the social media postings, search for #LBDIAsheville on Facebook or Instagram.
As a part of the Initiative, we also collected hundreds of feminine hygiene products from both League members and community supporters. Those products were donated to the Buncombe County Family Justice Center and will be given to women who are victims of domestic or sexual abuse.