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  • Nell Green

it really did happen that quickly

To say that our hearts broke when we had to tell the refugees who work for Threads by Nomad that the studio would close would be an understatement. We knew two members of our team were the only breadwinners in their family and we were keenly aware of the difficulties this would cause them. Just the day before we made this decision and announced it to our staff, one of our team members had passed his citizenship exam. We celebrated with him one day and then had to close the studio the next. It really did happen that quickly.

The Off Ramp also had to put on hold a variety of plans and projects. A trip to visit one potential partner in South America was canceled altogether. Overwhelmed at the sudden necessary changes and abrupt end to our work, we kept asking the same question: how could we help? A number of people suggested that we make face masks, but we did not yet know how to get them into the hands of those who needed them most. Enter a dear friend who mentored me in anti-trafficking work and had connections with both the Texas Network of Youth Services and the Texas Alliance of Children and Families. She also connected us with Abi Ferrin of Love and Freedom.

Together with Abi we mapped out a plan, asked our team members if they'd be willing to work on a contract basis, and began making masks. So far, these friends have not gone a single week without income. Once finished, the masks are shared with service organizations at our cost. They are higher quality—both washable and more durable—than many masks available online and because we are not turning a profit on them they are a good bit less expensive. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, our people are cared for, and those who are most vulnerable have the protection they need.

Some of the words of gratitude we have received are:

The face masks were such a welcome gift! Thank you for thinking about our little shelter.

Thank you so, so, much for your incredible kindness. The timing of the masks was on point. 

Thank you! We needed these for our young women so badly. You are appreciated. 

You're too kind! We want to thank you very much for the cloth face masks. Thank you for thinking of us! 

It has been our honor to serve our communities in this way. These words from the Executive Director of Texas Network of Youth Services sustain us: Thanks to The Off Ramp, Texas Network of Youth Services (TNOYS) was able to get more than 2,000 fabric masks out to organizations serving youth who are homeless, in foster care, and at-risk in Texas. The Off Ramp worked with us to launch a partnership quickly and with limited resources. They pitched in to help cover the supply costs. The funds that we did contribute to this project went to employing refugees at a fair wage. We could not be happier with this collaboration and wish The Off Ramp the best of luck in its future work and endeavors.

You, our change-makers, helped make this happen. And if you are able, we ask that you continue to support us and our work on Giving Tuesday, May 5. Thank you!

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