There are so many things that make our community great, but in the hundreds of interviews we’ve conducted, the one attribute that is consistently brought to light is the neighborhood’s small town feel.
People actually know the neighbors who live on their block. Bodega owners, bartenders, and coffee shop baristas greet you by name. Civic leaders go out of their way to ensure that nobody is left behind.
On February 7, 28-year-old South Slope neighbor Amelia Coffaro was diagnosed with stage 3B inflammatory breast cancer. The freelance photographer has no health insurance.
Friends have banded together to form Project Amelia, an all-volunteer effort to help off-set the costs of her treatment.
Jennifer Kahrs, owner of The Shadowbox Shop, and co-founder of Project Amelia, tells us, “We formed Project Amelia, literally, when she called to tell us her diagnosis.”
“Amelia has worked with so many in the art community, often for little to no money,” Jennifer adds. “Amelia believed in each of us, in our projects, and she helped make them happen.”
Amelia’s first chemo session was on Valentine’s Day.
“They call the treatment the red devil,” says Jennifer, “and we’ve been saying that even the devil is on Amelia’s side.”
The group’s current goal is to raise $100,000 by May 1, but Jennifer tells us that number is just a warm up.
“Having just raised 30k in slightly over a week, we’re confident that we will meet the 100k by May, and we plan to keep going until Amelia is better.”
In addition to their Give Forward page, Project Amelia has several neighborhood events in the works, including “an online editioned print sale (featuring many sought after artists), a live auction, and a yogathon.”
Jennifer adds: “We’ll be recruiting a wide range of volunteers – that’s the key to Project Amelia. Our mission is to get every little part donated, so that all of our combined efforts go directly to Amelia’s healthcare.
“We’re currently looking for t-shirts and bags,” she says. “We’ve got a silkscreener ready to roll, but would really appreciate help with the swag.
“Donations for our auction would be awesome too,” she says. “We’ve got all the art we can handle, but things like spa treatments coupons or anything that consumers might want — again, all proceeds go to Amelia’s medical bills.”
The group is also seeking fiscal sponsorship, which Jennifer says is ”really what’s holding us back from selling any goods.” Anyone interested can contact board member Elizabeth Griffin at GRIFFIN@hearst.com.
“A very long time ago, I swore I would always do anything I could to help Amelia,” says Jennifer. “I’m not sure I could have imagined this. The love that has poured in her support has been faith renewing. Community — it’s all about community when it comes down to it isn’t it?”
Image via Project Amelia