Around this time of year, you’re probably scrambling to keep up with your calendar. There are parties to attend. Gifts to wrap. Volunteer time to squeeze in. Cookies to bake. Are you stressed out yet?
If sending holiday cards is still on your to-do list, Art Restart has a solution: Purchase cards decorated with work from local artists. That might be reason enough to place an order, but in this case, the featured artists are from The Gathering Place, a spot where women, kids, and transgender individuals who are experiencing poverty or homelessness can spend daytime hours. That means you can buy your holiday cards—or New Years or Happy February cards—while supporting a social mission (the center had more than 60,000 adult visitors in 2013).
The Gathering Place has offered similar products for 25 years as part of the Card Project, a program that sells about 21,000 handmade cards annually ($1.50 of each $2 card goes back to the artist). Recently, the center looked for a way to grow that concept and help their clients establish an earned income source of their own. “We decided to take what we already had and sell the cards in bulk,” says Allison Panter, Art Restart’s business director. “We started in September. We’ve already sold about 40,000 cards in the first season. Last week, we cut a royalty check for about $1,000 for one of the artists. She had asked me earlier if she’d make $50.”
At a time of the year when a little extra cash is helpful, that income can have an immense—and lasting—impact on the people aided at the Gathering Place. For card customers, a bulk order of 250 cards (or more) helps support both the center and the artists. “We want people to use us whenever they are connecting with their customers,” Panter says. “Why not keep in touch with your community and support a social mission?”
To see five of our favorite cards from Art Restart’s collection, click through the slideshow above.