This year has given us pause to reconsider how we celebrate the holidays. Thankfully, A$AP Rocky has provided a blueprint for doing it right.
Ahead of Thanksgiving last week, the 32-year-old rapper personally delivered 120 meals from Harlem’s Amy Ruth’s Restaurant to a homeless shelter in New York City. His generous donation wasn’t random, though: This was the same shelter that he and his mother, Renee Black, once resided in during the early 2000s.
The Regent Family Residence currently serves 83 families, including 111 children, and once served as a temporary home for the world-renowned rapper, actor, and model.
“My friends used to be like ‘we comin’ over’ and I would be like ‘I can’t have company, you know what I’m sayin’?'” he recalled, admitting to being embarrassed by his living situation as a kid. But as he grew up, he saw his time at the shelter as formative. “I embraced it because it made me who I am today.” This experience has made him an advocate for youth-focused initiatives including Arms Around the Child and DoSomething.org.
Of course, you don’t need lived experience with houselessness to appreciate that as temperatures lower and the coronavirus continues to drive up unemployment and incidents of domestic violence, domestic shelters are more vital than ever.
But knowing where to donate can be an overwhelming task, particularly when you can’t always be sure how much of your donation will make it to your charity of choice. While an initiative or program might have an impressive website or social media presence, that doesn’t always translate to responsible, culturally sensitive work being done on the ground.
That’s why it’s always better to think locally and look for the charities that have made a difference to your community and the people that you care about.
You can find your local shelter and donate here.