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What do homelessness, repurposing, and entrepreneurship have in common? CarryON!
According to the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless, there were over 16,000 people experiencing homelessness in Massachusetts alone. And chronic unemployment is what is trapping many people in homelessness. CarryON aims to end the cycle of homelessness with the power of green entrepreneurship. We create bags from repurposed materials and provide employment opportunities. Along with economic gain, jobs bring hope, dignity and real life social skills. We hope CarryON becomes a model for other social enterprises, inspiring manufacturing pods across the country and creating jobs for those who believe in the value of repurposing.
This summer, we begin our entry into the retail market, renting a booth at Boston’s Summer Street Art Market and launching an online marketplace at www.CarryONusa.org. We manufacture the bags in a workshop in Boston, and we have a supply of burlap, canvas, and linens, sourced from local coffee roasters and awning companies. As we begin this retail adventure, we are focusing on marketing our products and spreading our mission to repurpose.
We are asking for your support in expanding CarryON so that it can meet the employment needs of more people. Each new job changes a life and breaks the cycle. We want to prove that both bags and people can find new lives.
How did CarryON begin?
Four years ago, a small group of St. Francis House guests sought help in building their path to economic independence. St. Francis House, a day shelter located in downtown Boston, responded by providing a few tools, some financial resources, and, perhaps most important, encouragement to reach their dreams. This led to the creation of CarryON, which is a St. Francis House subsidiary.
At CarryON, we know that the homeless aren’t hopeless, and we want to prove that there are ways to employ the chronically unemployed.
What are we doing?
At our current stage, we pay our employees and our bills with a combination of our wholesale revenues and funding from supporters. With an increased demand for our repurposed bags in the retail market, we will build a greater capacity to employ people who have limited options yet great motivation.
In our small workshop, our employees work diligently in a supportive and encouraging environment. We have a waiting list of motivated people who are eager for employment; however, we currently lack the financial resources to hire new employees.
We would love to move into a new space to increase our production capacity. Our goal is to make CarryON both financially and environmentally sustainable, providing employment and purpose for years to come.
What will the funds be used for?
(What does it cost to change a life?)
Our goal is to raise money to partially fund the next fiscal year’s expenses as we establish our name in the retail market and reach new customers. We have the costs of compensating our employees, promoting our business, and expanding our operating capacity. Some of the expenses include:
- Vendor booth rentals
- Website hosting
- Sewing supplies
- Workshop rent
- Salaries/worker stipends
- Sewing machine maintenance
How can you help?
We appreciate your contributions to our campaign! Any amount can help us to move forward. We strive to create opportunities for the homeless, and we want everyone to know about the motivation and dedication that our employees devote to this enterprise. They are determined to make a better life despite their histories.
We would love for you to spread the word about CarryON! Whether you are environmentally-conscious, interested in social entrepreneurship, passionate about ending homelessness, or a believer in the power of a second chance, your support of our mission is invaluable. Following the CarryON journey and sharing on Twitter, Facebook, or in your local neighborhood will empower more people to carry on.
Please note: when you donate, your receipt will say "St. Francis House Inc". CarryON, LLC is a subsidiary of St. Francis House, a registered 501(c)(3) organization. Donations to CarryON via St. Francis House are tax-deductible.