"That's my mission in life, to help people."
Taking a tough personal experience and turning it into something that can provide warmth during the coldest months. We've all seen some of the 3.5 million people that experience homelessness at one point in our lives. A lot of times we aren't sure how to act so we react in fear. We think them to be lazy, crazy or on drugs. However, none of us really know their story and yet we judge how they got to where they are.
I know during the cold months, when it's raining, or even snowing I often find myself thinking of those that live on the streets and wonder how they are staying warm or dry. It's so hard to imagine when you've been blessed to not experience being without a home. But it's that very experience that Founder of Bungalow Supply Co., Lehne Runyon can relate to.
"I just have a really big passion for helping the homeless and those that are less fortunate."
And that she does with Bungalow, a company devoted to providing warm beanies during the Fall and Winter months as well as food and other necessities to those experiencing homelessness. For every beanie bought another is given to someone who is living on the streets. A luxury to those without one considering 50% of a person's body heat is lost through their head.
Beanies aren't the only things available on the Bungalow site. Lehne also as an assortment of apparel ranging from shirts, she screen prints herself, to stickers. With every piece of apparel bought 30% of it goes towards helping organizations that support the homeless, shelters, and or individualized people stay warm.
"One of the donations I made happened when I was at a festival [talking about Bungalow] and a lady that worked at a particular homeless shelter told me about how they really needed a lot of help. And that at her shelter there were a lot of younger people. So I contacted them and they said beanies would be useful so I sent some over. There was also a time when I noticed someone needed a sleeping bag so I went a bought a sleeping bag for them."
Fueled by the desire to help and to speak up for those who don't seem to have much of a voice Lehne has made it her mission to help. As well as caution others to reserve their judgement of those we see living on the streets.
"There was one time my husband and I were driving home from a festival and I saw this older gentleman holding a cardboard sign asking for help. I told my husband to pull over and I got out of the car and gave him a beanie I had. The gentleman was so grateful he started to cry. I found out that he was in the military and after he got out he things didn't go very well for him and that's how he ended up on the streets. It's moments like that they really make me want to do this."
As for the future of Bungalow the hopes of turning it into a coffee shop geared to providing free coffee, jobs, beanies, apparel, and other forms of help to those who need it, is a dream. For now providing warm beanies to cold bodies is definitely a start.
If you are interested in helping Lehne's efforts Bungalow is offering a special deal for So She Slays where you can receive 20% off of any beanie purchased between now and March 17, 2017. For more information and ways to help please visit their website.