January is Poverty Awareness Month. It is also the month we choose
to run one of our largest fundraising campaigns, as it coincides
perfectly. The Little Black Dress Initiative (LBDI) is an awareness and
fundraising movement that underscores JLCD’s commitment to
building public awareness around hunger and poverty in our

The Little Black Dress Initiative consists of our League members
wearing the same black dress for five consecutive days to illustrate
the effects poverty can have on a woman’s access to resources,
confidence, and opportunities. During the near weeklong campaign,
we share local statistics about poverty on social media and in person,
as we ask for donations to the campaign primarily using an online
fundraising platform called Flip-cause.

In an effort to increase awareness of both our organization and the campaign’s purpose, as well as build community, we introduced a Restaurant Week concept this past year. JLCD partnered with a handful of local restaurants that agreed to donate a percentage of sales back to our cause on their given day. We felt honored that these locally owned companies and business owners said YES to helping the cause, and we hope that you will give them an extra “thanks” next time you visit on our behalf. In 2019 the Restaurant Week concept added an extra $2,000 towards our LBDI

Between 2017 and 2018, our first two LBDI efforts raised over
$55,000. This money is used as the sole funding source for the
community projects our League has initiated to help break the cycle
of poverty in North Pinellas County. Our 2019 campaign goal was
$27,000 and we’re proud to say that we raised just over $28,000 that
week! We are looking forward to raising even more in 2020 to help fight food insecurity in North Pinellas.

The impact of these projects in our community is truly remarkable! To
date, JLCD has provided over 2,400 Pack-a-Snacks to feed hungry
students over the weekends. Our League members have logged
nearly 700 volunteer hours packing and delivering these meals. We also
delivered 58 holiday dinners for families in need, provided 108
holiday presents for pack a snack recipients, and purchased 1,540
books to give local students at our January book events.
We are able to fund these projects because of the money donated
through this initiative. That being said, we are beyond grateful to our
League members, families and community for allowing us the
opportunity to truly make a difference in the lives of North Pinellas
County residents.

Sarah M Liakos, Fund Development Chair 2018-2019