Every once in a while a beauty influencer or brand comes along that’s so extraordinary in their efforts to give back, attention must be paid. Each Feel Good Friday, we’ll highlight these do-gooders along with simple ways to support their efforts.
At a recent beauty event we met a charismatic blogger with a habit of sending feel-good gifts to strangers. And while Bren Gomez, founder of beautypinata.com, knew Random Acts of Lipstick, she failed to mention her own philanthropic “side gig” during our initial meeting (modesty seems ever-present in the do-gooder community).
Luckily we spotted this Tweet from Gomez: “If you feel like the world is ending and you’re struggling with self-care, please DM me your address and I will send you a care package.” Obviously we inquired further. “The main goal behind these care packages is really to say, ‘Hey, you’re not alone. I’ve been through what you’ve been through, and I’m thinking about you,'” she explained to Random Acts of Lipstick.
In one of the most moving accounts we’ve covered, Gomez went on to reveal how her own experience inspired the random acts of kindness, what goes into each pack, and how you can help ease the grief of someone in need.
How it started: I probably consciously did my first one about 2 years ago. A friend mentioned to me that his friend’s wife had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and that they’d just moved here from Sweden. They didn’t really have any friends or family here, and that really stuck with me. I’m a cancer survivor myself, and dealing with it is hard enough without any other hardship being thrown on top.
I knew some details about her and put together a customized care package. It was reported back to me that she was really touched and grateful. Mutual friends asked if I would put together another one for someone else dealing with cancer. I said yes, because they’re sort of a puzzle and fun to do, especially when I know nothing about the person.
How it grew, fast: Since then, I’ve done them here and there.They’re usually for cancer patients, but I expanded them last year to include women struggling with post-abortion grief, and those suffering with depression. I went through some crazy s*&t last year, and I honestly think if someone had sent me a care package at that time it would have really changed my view on things. The events of my life sent me into a deep depression, and post-election, I saw so many people on Twitter just struggling with depression, grief, and trying to take care of themselves – it seemed helpless. This is a small way for me to try and put that fear and disappointment into actionable movements.
What’s in the Care Packages: It depends on who they’re for and what they’re going through. For most of them, I usually include beauty products, crossword puzzles or adult coloring books, a small journal, pens, candy and stickers. For cancer patients, I make sure to include hand sanitizer, tissue, a special alcohol-free mouthwash (chemo constantly causes dry mouth), clean beauty products (especially nail polish, as chemo can turn fingernails black), lollipops to help with nausea, tea, a scarf or small blanket. For someone who is going through or about to have an abortion, it’s a giftcard for an Uber and Kotex, and a travel-sized heating pad. For those dealing with depression, it can be a mix of all of the above.
How You Can Help: I tell everyone that they can help by donating products (not just for inclusion in the giftbags; I’ll gladly take shipping supplies like padded envelopes, bubble wrap, etc). You can write letters or even donate through Paypal, which I added because people asked how they could help (I always send them photos of postal receipts, so they know they helped make someone’s day and you know, to prove I’m not a scam artist). It’s not an official non-profit, it’s just me trying to do something nice, sort of like making your friend a dance mixtape when she’s heartbroken. Sometimes I go an entire month or two without any requests; some weeks I get five. All the info on requesting one can be found here.