Charity work can come in many different guises, from donating money to gifting food to volunteering time to those in need.
Yet one thing often overlooked is beauty, as if disadvantaged people somehow forget about the very thing that the rest of us uphold as so important.
One squad, however, who do recognise that a lack of home does not mean a lack of humanity, is the incredible team of superheroes at Beauty 2 The Streetz.
This fantastic organisation remind homeless people that they are still individuals, who have their own unique look and sense of style, despite their circumstances.
They do this by hitting the streets to gift free makeovers, whether it be hair or make-up, to use beauty as a tool to boost the self-esteem of our most vulnerable.
It’s all thanks to the incredible Shirley Raines, who began noticing a wave of compliments about her hair and make-up from rough sleepers while working for another organisation in Skid Row – America’s most notorious poverty-stricken area.
It was then that she decided to go it alone creating her own non-profit to serve the locals, realising at their core that women are still women and keen to look nice.
And so, Shirley began venturing out with make-up, lashes, and hair dye, not only to make homeless people feel more like themselves, but also to build friendships.
She now believes that Beauty 2 The Streetz holds two meanings, one literally around looking good and the other based on equality and compassion.
With hard work and fundraising, the project has evolved with Shirley and her team also providing essentials to the LA neighbourhood, including meals and showers.
They say their sole aim is to make people feel “inherently human”.
Chatting about her extraordinary altruism, Shirley said it’s as much about connection as it is about the aesthetics.
Shirley said: “It’s not so much just giving them make-up or doing their hair, it’s also the physical touch. People need physical touch.
“That’s what was hard when the pandemic hit. We had to stop doing hair, we had to stop doing barber services. And that might be the nicest touch they’ve had all day.”
Speaking to CNN, Shirley opened up about her own experiences and how she felt after losing her two-year-old son who died from accidentally swallowed medication.
Shirley said: “I went to Skid Row, I’m like, ‘Oh, this is where all the broken people are? Oh, I’ve been looking for y’all all my life. I never wanted to leave.
“It’s a place where people have amazing hearts, but nobody can see it because they can’t see the forest for the trees.”
She added: “I started with the trans community. They were telling me that no one would give them women’s clothes because they were men.
“I’m like, ‘Girl, I’ll bring you some women’s clothes. I’ll bring wigs, I’ll bring you eyelashes.’ It plants a little bit of self-esteem in them, so they feel like, okay, maybe no one knows I’m homeless because I have a fresh cut.”
Shirley, you are absolute goals!
To find out more, click here: Beauty 2 The Streetz.