Hello to Friends and Followers, near and far!
Today instead of a normal fashion or lifestyle blog post I’d like to present a call to action of this amazing community we all share. Throughout the year our blog is mostly centered around fashion. But we are so much more than the outfits we wear and to be honest, I try take moments in my daily life to focus less on the materialism and more on wearing a smile to brighten someone’s day, or wear my heart on my sleeve for someone in need. And today I am happy to use this platform to share something that means a lot to me.
I was recently inspired by a series done this month by one of my favorite bloggers, Sydney from Summer Wind Blog called “Service Sundays” in which she dedicated one day a week to bringing attention to a charitable cause meaningful and close to her heart. This stood out to me because during the holiday season our phone screens are flooded with retail sales, gift guides, and shopping reminders and we are stressed with the burdens of gift giving and hectic schedules instead of focusing on what the reason for the season really is.
During the holidays especially, our town of Erie Pennsylvania prides itself on community and charity. There are so many amazing causes and organizations that do so much to make our home wonderful. I wasn’t sure what cause I could truly get behind 100% to ask you all for help with until some unexpected events happened a few weeks ago. And then I realized that good people bring out the good in people and I instantly knew where my sense of a compassionate community was leading me.
Let me tell you about our new friends Stacie, Carina, and Jeff:
Stacie first messaged me through our Instagram page this summer to ask a few questions about the Erie area, as her husband Jeff was coming in to town from where they live in Seattle Washington, for a school interview at one of the local universities. She said she found us through an Erie #hashtag and that it was a long shot, but I think that she already knew we would be fast friends! We chatted away about our mutual interests and slowly I had the pleasure of learning more about her and her sweet family. I told her how wonderful a place Erie is to live and I think I made it clear why I’ve chosen to continue to call it home. We both secretly hoped that Jeff’s interview would go well so that one day her and I could meet up in person and so she could see how lovely Erie is too!
Sure enough Jeff was admitted into the Nursing Anesthesiology program that will start in January and go for about 2 ½ years. So Jeff and Stacie began to plan for their move of 2,500+ miles away from everything and everyone they know and love. I imagine that the decision for Jeff to go back to school was a big sacrifice both financially and personally for them. Jeff and Stacie have an adorable 1 ½ year old daughter, Carina, and a great support system in Seattle, but they decided that Jeff could not pass up this opportunity to continue his education and pursue his passion. We got to meet the whole family when they came to Erie for a short visit in October and it was such a fun day! Peep our two adorable babies, Carina and Alice, enjoying lunch together like new little besties 🤣
So, after a couple of months of planning and packing, the Harcus family shipped all of their belongings across the country, at a cost of a few thousand dollars, to prepare and get settled in their rental here in Erie. They also rented out their Seattle home to supplement income and have been living with family for the months before their move. Everything seemed in place for them to make the move East to us, we even got to help Jeff unload the truck when he was here in November.
Then the unimaginable happened… Unfortunately, on December 1st, they received the terrible news that their new apartment that they haven’t even lived in yet had been consumed by an accidental external fire with nearly all of their belongings inside. This included their furniture, kitchenware, clothing, Carina’s toys, sentimental items, and linens. While they had renter’s insurance, it is unclear how much the insurance will pay but it certainly won’t even come close to covering the full value of what was lost.
With their impending move to Erie on January 3rd, they are overwhelmed with the prospect of arriving in a new place that will not only cost more to rent, but is completely unfurnished. Furthermore, their only remaining possessions are the clothes they have packed for their interim stay with Jeff’s parents for the month of December. Stacie and Jeff’s Seattle neighbors and friends have spoken of and been touched by their genuine kindness and desire to help others. However, at the moment, it is they who need kindness and help of their old and new friends and communities. Stacie said it is a vulnerable and humbling situation to need to have help, but “we don’t have to do it all alone. We were never meant to.”
Thank you for allowing me to share their story today. I have placed a link to their GoFundMe page below:
Please make a donation to help them rebuild their lives and new home. If you prefer not to make a monetary donation, I have decided to collect item donations for when the family arrives to Erie. Suggestions include: Wegmans gift cards for groceries, household items, personal care items, winter gear like hats and gloves, age appropriate toys and books for Carina, etc. I will list each family members’ preferred clothing and shoe sizes if you would like to donate warm winter sweaters, coats, or boots to prepare them for an Erie winter.
Stacie: size M coat, size 7.5 shoe/boot
Carina: size 18-24m or 2T, size 5 shoe/boot
Jeff: size M coat, size 9 or 9.5 shoe/boot
If you have something you would like to donate please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can arrange for pick up/drop off of items.
I am hopeful that despite this “off-brand” blog post I wrote for today that you all will find it in your hearts to contribute in any way that you can to this sweet family. I know that funds run tight this time of year, but I ask you help me support the Harcus Family in their time of need. Let us have them be witnesses to our community coming together just for them before they even arrive here!
Love and blessings to you all!