ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – A local woman has thought up a new way to help underserved school children in the St. Petersburg area, and she’s doing it with fashion.
Melody Proud designed and created a line of T-shirts featuring the phrase “Live Love St. Pete” and a depiction of the city’s skyline.
Proud and her husband started assisting one school after volunteering with their church to provide Thanksgiving meals to homeless families of a St. Petersburg elementary school.
Shortly after, she started making the shirts to involve the community.
“I’ve been given many good things in my life and I have always enjoyed giving back because I know we are put on this earth to help one another,” Proud said. “And when I saw what was going on during Thanksgiving with these families, I had a feeling that it happened 364 other days of the year as well, that they might have challenges and things like that.”
She told 8 On Your Side’s Daisy Ruth that she felt as if there was one school that needed help, there were many more that could also use assistance.
“I wanted to find a way to involve the community of St. Pete because we’re all in this together and I wanted to come up with a fundraising opportunity. The fundraising opportunity is the creation of these T-shirts, hoping that the people of St. Pete are proud of living here and loving it as we all do,” Proud said.
The organization is starting off with T-shirts because, as Proud said, they are “such a universal thing.”
“We go on vacation and that’s our souvenir, or we go to the Rays game and we get a Rays shirt because we want to support our team. It all just kind of flowed together,” she said. “It’s something that transcends several types of people who might want to have this. Specific to the St. Pete area with the new pier and all of the lovely things we have downtown, we get lots of vacationers. When you’re on vacation, you get a T-shirt.”
The shirts are available in six colors (teal, peachy-pink, iced blue, royal blue, black, and white) and range in sizes from children to adult XXL.
The shirts can be purchased online at LiveLoveStPete.org.
One hundred percent of the proceeds go directly toward providing resources to school kids in the community.
Proud said they are filling the needs for students that teachers and administrators often pay for out of their own pocket.
Funds will go toward things such as breakfast food, school uniforms and other clothing and shoes, incentives for reaching scholastic goals, Christmas gifts, special activities, and more.
As for Proud and her fundraising efforts to give back, she said she is going to focus on the T-shirts until the process is perfected, but new merchandise, in different communities, could come in the future.
“I can see hats. For the colder months, we might do a sweatshirt at some point. And for the future-future could be that we would do a Tampa, Live Love Tampa T-shirt or any other community. It seems like it’s a model that could work,” she said.