Monday, January 19, 2015

The Pan"tea" Party

On Sunday, August 24th, 2014, it’s the little things hosted its first ever Pan"tea" Party. I say "first ever" because it was so successful, we plan for this to be a reoccurring event, but first let’s rewind a bit… Pan"tea" party… did you read that correctly? Go ahead, say it aloud quickly. Pan"tea" party. Panty party. Yup!

A Pan"tea" party – or at least the ITLT version – is a charity event, believe it or not! Essentially, a bunch of ladies gather for a tea party (or an ITLTea party…) but bring with them newly purchased and packaged panties, bras, or socks.

{Honestly, this was maybe the greatest day in ITLT history and definitely one of the best days in my life. I just barely pulled it off and only because I had such an amazing team, but at the end of the day it was all so worth it. Before you continued reading, I just really wanted you to know that, and I hope you get to participate in event just like this.}

This event certainly can be hosted on a smaller scale, and we implore you to discover your local women's shelter or center and have some girlfriends over for your own ITLTea party. This particularly event was hosted at the Bistro of a private residence in Eagle Rock, CA.

Why are we collecting underwear?

Last summer, ITLT collected an amazing amount of intimate apparel in order to benefit the women of Haven Hills, a registered 501 (c)(3) organization in Canoga Park that provides safety and support to victims of domestic violence, while working to break the cycle of abuse. Second-hand clothes are easy to collect and often donated, but DV shelters and Centers for homeless women can only accept new and packaged items like bras and underwear. People don’t usually think about purchasing new items to donate, so these centers rarely receive such essential and staple undergarments.

Let’s be honest... it’s fun to shop, and it’s really nice shopping for someone else. We hoped that these specially picked items would provide comfort and support to the Haven Hills residents, as most are forced to relocate with only the clothes on their backs. Many of these brave women also take their families into hiding as well. At the end of a long email chain with the Facilities Manager, we not only discovered what sizes they needed, but also the ages of children who also needed these clothes. It hadn’t originally occurred to me that babies would need socks and teenage boys would need boxers. I included all of this information in the invitation to my guests so they could decide for what (and who) they wanted to shop.

Why Haven Hills?

Over the past 36 years, Haven Hills has served over 600,000 women and children, helping them rebuild their lives and free themselves from the horrors of domestic violence. Haven Hills provides a 30 Crisis Shelter and an 18 Month Transitional Shelter for women and children transitioning out of abusive situations. It is a unique facility because very few agencies offer accommodations for children, children's programs, and community education. Also, having a personal connection with the shelter made it easy to request specific needs. Their Executive Director also made a point to join us for the tea and gave a beautiful speech about how these types of donations impact the women at the shelter.

What makes this a uniquely ITLT event?

Since ITLT is a creativity-based operation, we offered a DIY activity for our guests! In keeping with the intimate apparel theme, we dip-dyed new pajama shirts for the women in the shelter; beautiful, personalized, special donations from us to them. As a result of a generous contribution from a private donor, I was able to purchase 40 long, soft, plain pajama shirts. (The shelter had a few less women, so the extras were for any new incoming women.) At the party, we set out several buckets of dye and watched the creativity ensue! The girls had such a fun time deciding what colors and design they were going to create; seeing the end results on a clothesline gave me all the warm fuzzies you could want in a lifetime.

It is so important to me that ITLT promotes creative acts of kindness, because using our hands along with our hearts truly makes it a labor of love. There is definitely something to be said about sharing your time and creativity in a selfless act.

What do the guests get out of this type of charity event?

Attending (and hosting) this Pan"tea" party is much more fulfilling than writing a check; or at least for us creative types, it is! Don’t get me wrong— if you can afford to financially support a cause you care about, that’s the only way most charities can stay afloat. I started this blog, though, because what I can offer is a creative perspective on making a difference.

Also, thanks to the generous donation of our sponsors, we were able to serve delicious snacks and refreshments, raffled off about ten amazing prizes, and sent a little goody bag home with each guest in return for their support and generosity. Our guests took the time and effort to purchase such special and intimate items, so the least we could do was offer them treats and goodies!

You can’t argue with results!

That night, I organized and laid out everything that was collected. It was funny because, once our guests dropped off their items at the entrance, I didn’t really think about them until it was time to count. I’m not exaggerating when I say: It was better than Christmas morning. I started off so excited, bouncing around the room putting items in their designated area. It was when I started to run out of room that I started crying and didn’t stop until everything had a spot. I wanted to see each item, and I thought about every single one. Who was the woman who purchased this? Who is the woman or child who will receive this? It wasn’t just an item that they needed, but this might be the first new item that they could call their own. I stared through blurry eyes for a long time before I had to pack them all up again.

Thanks to the overwhelming generosity of our guests – which was about 30 women – 
we collected over 300 items to donate to Haven Hills, including:

Over 200 items for women:
  • 30 bras
  • 134 pairs of underwear
  • 132 pairs of socks
  • 30+ custom made dip-dyed pajama shirts
Over 100 items for kids and teens:
  • 60 pairs of children’s underwear
  • 20 pairs of toddler socks
  • 10 teen boxers 

And now for the details of the day!

Raffle Prizes from our Amazing Sponsors
  • Tula Day Spa™: 60 Minute Facial
  • Tula Cosmetics™ Professional Cosmetic “Beauty Bundle:” including Botanical Shadow Eye Primer, Luxe Créme Liner, Baked Blush, Long Lasting LipLiner, Transforming Lipstick, LipToxyl Sheer Lip Plumping Laquer— All six items packaged in the Tula signature navy velvet makeup bag
  • On behalf of Consult Muse, gorgeous jewelry selections from Charme Silkiner & Anna Pellissari
  • LUSH Topanga Plaza, Hand-picked Gift Basket: Space Girl, bathbomb; Charity Pot, hand and body lotion; Dirty Springwash, shower gel; Rock Star, hand and body soap; Karma, 30mL perfume; Sexy Peel, hand and body soap; Dirty Toothytabs, solid toothpaste; Bohemian, hand and body soap
  • Private Donor, Perfectly Posh Gift Basket: Energizing body wash, shea soap bar, lip sugar scrub, solid hand lotion bar, glitter bath beads, Brazilian bombshell and sugar fix body butter, Wakey! skin stick, lip gloss and balm
  • Susie Cakes, Calabasas: Gift Certificate for one dozen cupcakes (& L-O-V-E letter cookie cutters from ITLT)
  • Coffee Tumbler purchased from MADE by DWC (Downtown Women’s Center)

Each guest received a goodie bag containing a Tula Cosmetics™ MakeUp Remover.

Our Menu
  • Tea sandwiches: Cream Cheese & Cucumber, Egg Salad, Turkey & Cheese
  • Salad: Tomato, Onion, Cucumber, & Olive Oil
  • Pastry selections from Belwood Bakery Café: muffins, croissant, and cookies
  • Drinks: Hot Herbal Tea, Refreshing Iced Tea, Lemonade
  • Dessert: Bread Puddings from Crème Caramel LA in Vanilla, Nutella, & White Chocolate 

Purchased food and supplies were made possible by Madonna Novelle West and the Hurwit Family.

Flowers were donated by The Flower Factory, Inc.