Story by Mary Martin. Photos courtesy of FACE Foundation.
It started with a drawer of bath and beauty samples. If you have ever been to Sephora, Ulta, or a department store beauty counter, you know about this drawer. You come home, empty your bag, and toss the tiny samples of foundation, lotion, or perfume into a bathroom drawer. And more often than not, those samples go unused.
Monica Buskuhl was looking at those samples in her own home when she had an idea. “I had drawers of unused toiletries that I had picked up while traveling or as a sample and realized I could take these, put them in bags, and take them to local women’s shelters to see if they could be used,” Monica explained. This revelation happened just before Memorial Day of this year, and already Monica has delivered over 1,700 bags.
As Monica shared her idea, more friends and family wanted to get involved, not only in donating their sample products, but also in making the bags. Monica named her new cause FACE Foundation of Texas – creating the acronym around the idea of Fellowship Advocating Compassion & Empowerment. “It’s not just about donating, but getting others to be involved in the process,” Monica explained. “I started hosting FACE parties – people will bring donations and make bags with their kids so everyone can take part in giving back.” To provide dignity and security for the women receiving the gifts, Monica makes quiet drop-off deliveries to partner organizations like Genesis Women’s Shelter, The Family Place, Mosaic Family Services, and The Bridge. She is also pursuing a personal volunteer role at Mosaic to learn more about the families they serve.
Giving back was instilled in Monica throughout her childhood, making her decision to start her own giving organization a natural transition from the life of a full-time mom. “I have always felt the need to help others wherever I can. It started as small things along the way, so FACE is just the next level of giving back,” said Monica. “I can recognize how I have a lot more than other people, not only around the world, but in our own community.”
Each FACE Foundation bag contains seven essential items: shampoo, soap, lotion, razors, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant. After those seven, volunteers will add an extra gift like a makeup, skincare, or perfume product. The cause began with a focus toward women, but whenever donations are available, Monica will also create bags for male clients.
In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, FACE Foundation has partnered with the Semones Family YMCA for a special donation drop-off location. The basket in the lobby is available for donations of full and travel sized toiletry items through the month of October. For a personal drop-off or pick-up location you can email Monica directly.
Beyond individual donations, Monica has a vision for corporate donations that would help the organization expand beyond Dallas. “I would love for beauty counters to offer the option of donating the samples before a customer ever takes them home,” said Monica. “I have seen first-hand how these small items are received and cherished by women who are experiencing trauma and transition.” Bringing high-end toiletries and beauty products into a dark situation, Monica is able to offer a little luxury and a ray of hope.
Want to learn more about FACE Foundation and hosting a FACE party? Visit facefoundation.org.
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