On St. Pete Beach, one small shop is trying to make a big difference in the fight against homelessness. Sail Marketing on Corey Avenue, a combined marketing firm and boutique store, is donating a share of all of their store’s profits to St. Vincent de Paul CARES, a Pinellas-based nonprofit known for their homeless shelter on 5th Avenue North.
“It’s been an organization that’s really been close to my heart… my father actually received help from them back in the early 2000s,” said Sarah Laracuente, owner of Sail Marketing. “So knowing what they’ve done for our community for so long, and the work that they do… I want to do what I can to help.”
Ten percent of the profits from every item purchased from Sail go directly to SVdP. The shop donates 20% from items in their new line of clothing, emblazoned with the slogan “Kindness Matters.” One hundred percent of the profits from the sale of their “Kindness Matters” facemasks go to SvDP, making it a popular item around St. Pete Beach – even Mayor Al Johnson wears one.
Laracuente approached SvDP with the idea earlier this summer.
“I wanted to give them a place to kind of spread the word on what they’re doing for all of Tampa Bay for the homeless community and to raise awareness there as well,” she said.
“We thought it was awesome,” SVdP Communications Manager Mary Burns said, noting that the timing was especially good. In April their caseload doubled as the COVID-19 outbreak put many people out of work, and out of their homes.
In the last year alone, SVdP helped over 1,500 people find stable living, and served over 130,000 meals to those in need, largely due to donations and partnerships with local businesses like Sail Marketing, which has donated hundreds of dollars since launching the initiative in September.
“It’s been very humbling,” said Burns, “just to see the support of our community.”
Laracuente continues to help where she can, selling her items and collecting donations at the Corey Avenue Market every Sunday morning, and on her website, sailmarket.net
“It would be amazing to continue to grow that support so we can help spread the word that kindness does matter,” she said, “and that we do want to help our local homeless community to be able to get off the streets.”