Hello, My name is Tameka. I am a native Washingtonian who was born and raised in Ward 5, currently residing in Ward 7. My whole life has been dedicated to Community Service and volunteer efforts. As the founder of Purple Stars Foundation DC, I have been doing community service and outreach for the past 8 years specifically to help those in my community who are struggling with food insecurity, homelessness and economic instability.
8 years ago, I began with small acts of caring for my neighbors – once a month I organized a neighborhood clean- up with volunteers. After clean up, together we prepared and served bag lunches to the homeless who were camped out near Union Station. Then as the need increased, we partnered with other non profits and created a partnership with the women’s transitional housing community to host a monthly meal. The cost of preparing and serving the monthly meal to 100 women for one year is $6000.
When the women’s transitional housing opened a second site, more volunteers joined us to help with securing donations of food, gas cards, groceries and gift certificates which were used at COSTCO to buy supplies to prepare the meals for the homeless. To feed the 150 homeless women at the second shelter, along with a teen housing program cost $10,000 a year!
As the number of homeless people on the streets increased, I and my team of great volunteers expanded our reach past Union Station to Franklin Square where more and more tents were going up every day! While we continued to prepare and distribute meals with whatever donations we received from our neighbors and friends, we hosted a “Warming Drive” to collect coats, socks and gloves for the homeless and we prepared 200 hygiene bags – which included soap, shampoo conditioner, wipes, tissue, toothbrushes, toothpaste and combs – and on occasion a washcloth – all the basics items one needs to have dignity and self-esteem. The cost of hygiene bags is $6,000.
During the holidays, we work hard to secure donations to be able to prepare full meals for the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas – as these are the most difficult times for many people across our community and especially the homeless.
When the pandemic hit in March 2020– Purple Stars Foundation like many small organizations – and everything else started to shut down – we were blessed to connect to DC Mutual AID. With all the homeless shelters being overcrowded and the demand increasing, we were preparing 150 -300 hot meals each week, along with grocery packages, PPE, and cleaning supplies in an effort to meet the need of tremendous food insecurity and basic needs in my community.
Many other struggling organizations in our community either closed or had limited services. We began to receive donations of furniture and household goods to help families move from transitional housing to their own apartments. But we didn’t have vehicles to transport the furniture and had to rent U-Haul’s for each move. The cost was prohibitive.
Then from there- we had to hire a driver with a van and a trailer to meet the increasing needs of families moving into their apartments with no furniture.
The past 8 years have been both challenging and rewarding as we recognize the depth of food and financial insecurity in our community.
Now more than ever – we need help to support those in need!! We are reaching out to our neighbors and beyond to ask for help with donations so that we can continue to hire the van and trailer to move families into a safe and secure home – away from their prior traumatic experience. We want to purchase a box truck to continue to pick up and deliver furniture and food boxes because as we become more known, more people are asking for our help. Specifically, with trips to “Wider Circle” and food partner sites. The cost of a used box truck is $9,000 which includes insurance.
Finally, as a result of the pandemic, I lost my job as a Center Aide for the Higher Achievement Program because everything shut down everywhere. Nearly two years later, the program has just reopened and while I have been looking, I’m still out of work. Yes, it has been very difficult these past two years for my own family, but I count my blessings and will continue to volunteer to feed and clothe my neighbors as best I can with the help of God, volunteers and your donations!
Our goal is to raise $25,000 to be able to continue to feed the homeless every week and to have a safe transport vehicle to pick up donations and furnish a home for those in transition. To date, we have assisted over 200 neighbors with furniture and fed thousands throughout the city.
Please join me with a very generous donation to Purple Stars Foundation DC. Thank you in advance for your kindness and help. Know that your donation will have a very positive effect on hundreds of people struggling to have enough to eat and stay warm every day in my community!