How it All Began
When I was nine years old,my mom took me to New York for a weekend trip. We were walking down a busy street and a woman came up to my mom and asked her to spare a dollar so she could buy a lunch. I noticed that she had a big bag with her, and she looked very tired. After she left, I asked why she had that big bag. My mom explained to me that the woman was probably homeless, so she kept all of her things in the bag to carry with her. After hearing this explanation and understanding for the first time how serious it was to be homeless, I immediately knew that I wanted to help people like her. I know it might seem strange for a nine year old to be so affected by a brief encounter with one homeless person in New York City, but for me it was the beginning of an incredible journey.
After this encounter,I did anything and everything I could to make a difference in the lives of others.I volunteered every weekend for a local organization that aids low-income and homeless families, and my group of friends and I raised money for this organization by selling crafts at arts and craft fairs, and collecting bottles and cans from everyone in our communities to return for cash. On Thanksgiving and on several weekends, I volunteered at a local soup kitchen. I was determined to take action, no matter how small my impact seemed to be. After a few years of volunteering and learning about some of the things that homeless children have to go through, I knew that I wanted to do something more. I wanted to give kids something that they could play with and I wanted to reach as many kids and as many ages as possible. Creative expression is a necessary part of childhood development, and having art supplies on hand is sometimes a luxury for kids who are homeless. No child should be deprived of fundamental experiences because of their family’s socioeconomic status. With all of these things in mind, I decided to start Hope For Creativity.
Turning my dream of starting Hope For Creativity into reality was difficult because I was so young. The typical thing to do would have been to wait until I was older and more experienced, but I refused to wait. I knew that the problem existed right then and I needed to do something about it right away. I had no idea where to start or how much work it would involve, but I was sure that I needed to take action, no matter what.
On July 14th 2009, at the age of twelve, I officially registered Hope For Creativity as a non-profit organization.
I’m proud of the work I’ve been able to do as an individual, but I would not be where I am today without the community of people supporting me. I was so fortunate to have my mom and people close to me believe in me and my vision. None of them told me I was too young or that it would be too much work, and I received nothing but encouragement from them. I am especially grateful for my mom’s support every day. Her guidance and trust in me pushed me toward my goals and made me even more confident in my ability to make a difference.
Running Hope For Creativity has not been an easy road, but it has been more rewarding than I could have ever imagined. With the support of friends, family, community members, and total strangers, I am proud to say thatwe have provided over 6,000 art packs and changed that many lives. I’ve met so many incredible people through my work, and I’ve been given remarkable opportunities that have allowed me to see how many people in this world truly want to come together to make a difference in the lives of others
I have nothing but hope and excitement for the future of Hope For Creativity and what we’ll be able to accomplish.
Thank you, so much, to those who have supported me thus far and continue to motivate and inspire me every single day.
-Moira Landry, Founder and President of Hope For Creativity
"Great things are done by a series of small things brought together." -Vincent van Gogh
Why Art Packs?
We’ve often been asked why we don’t focus on providing food, clothes, or books for homeless children instead of art supplies. There are countless of hard-working agencies and organizations that work to provide homeless children and families with these things, and art supplies have never really been a focus for services. I noticed this gap in the services that are provided to homeless children, and knew I had to do something about it.
Artistic expression is a vital part of childhood and is often not an accessible pastime to kids who are experiencing homelessness. Whether it’s because they don’t have the space, the time, or cannot afford supplies; homeless children are deprived of opportunities that other children are given without question.
As someone who takes pride in the opportunities I’ve been given, I wanted to make sure that no child is deprived of necessary experiences because of their family's socioeconomic status. If a homeless child is given something brand new, meant for them specifically, they know that someone out there cares about them and understands what they’re going through.
How We Work
Since 2009, we have cultivated partnerships with close to 100 family homeless shelters across Massachusetts, from Springfield to Cape Cod. In addition to providing art packs, we have worked with several shelters on arts and crafts programs.
We either purchase our art supplies through funds donated and money raised through fundraisers or are given supplies through community and individual donations and art supply drives. All of the art supplies we provide are brand new, and if we are given any gently used supplies that cannot go into art packs, we give them to shelters in bulk packages called Create-It Boxes to use in their communal spaces for all of the families in the shelter.
Whenever we have an order of art packs, we call together dedicated community members to spend an afternoon filling art packs based on a careful organization system. We are so grateful for the people that take time out of their weekends to help us change lives. To view some photos from our past Big FIll events, click here!
Are you interested in helping us? Visit our Well Wish Warriors page to learn more!
Hope for Creativity is a youth-powered 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to providing children experiencing homelessness the opportunity to express themselves through art. Our mission has two focuses: to provide art supplies and creative opportunities to homeless children and to engage with communities, schools, and individuals in making a difference in the lives of others.