Story submitted by the Laguna Beach Friendship Shelter:
FreeBeneath, a family-owned company based in Laguna Beach, has partnered with Friendship Shelter to provide warmth and comfort to those in need.
For Christmas, FreeBeneath donated 70 robes for clients of Friendship Shelter Programs, embroidered with Friendship Shelter’s logo.
Among its 3 programs, Friendship Shelter helps over 100 individuals each night, providing a safe place to stay, meals, and support services. With the New Year comes change for many of these individuals, moving in, moving out, and moving on. FreeBeneath helps to ensure the physical warmth and comfort of the individuals in these programs and in transition. It’s a true community partnership.
“As a family, we have always been committed to giving back to our community through our affiliation with charitable interests. When we formed our family company, we agreed that we needed as a business enterprise to make a similar commitment back to an organization that provides assistance to those in need,” said Ryan Brown of FreeBeneath.
FreeBeneath manufactures robes in the Pico District of Los Angeles, where there is a sizable homeless population. “We’ve handed out a few robes after leaving the factory to some of the people we encountered on the street. This gave us the idea that we could adapt our product design to one that would give some comfort and warmth to the homeless here in our own community,” said Brown.
“We have always been supportive of Friendship Shelter’s goal of not only providing a temporary shelter for the homeless, but also providing services with the goal of giving individuals the opportunity to once again be productive members of society. We met with Mark Miller of the Friendship Shelter and he encouraged us to develop the idea for a blanket/poncho robe as he informed us that blankets were a particularly useful item at their facilities. It only seemed natural for us to use our manufacturing and design resources to provide the residents at the Shelter with a blanket/poncho that we hope will be a lasting and memorable symbol of the good work of the Friendship Shelter,” Brown continued.
“FreeBeneath helps us welcome each resident into our program with a sense of warmth, security and home,” said Mark Miller, Director of Programs at Friendship Shelter. This practical donation is matched with encouragement of self-sufficiency from the community.
FreeBeneath made an initial commitment to manufacture 500 robes and have delivered the first 70 to the shelter for current needs. Every robe that is purchased, whether wholesale or through the website, will be matched with a donation of one Comfort Poncho/Blanket to the Friendship Shelter.
Friendship Shelter is the only residential shelter in south Orange County. A self-sufficiency program in Laguna Beach, for which there is always a waiting list, provides a home-base, three meals daily and a wide range of support services to 32 men and women at a time. Graduates may apply to Henderson House, located in San Clemente, where 24 residents live for up to one year, allowing them to consolidate their gains and continue on the path to independent living. Friendship Shelter also operates the City of Laguna Beach’s emergency shelter at its Alternative Sleeping Location.