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  • Jessica Kartalija

Women Lifting Women

In the TV news industry, women are used to being criticized, pitted against each other, and judged. So, I’ve made a point to only spend time with women who love and support, and genuinely want the best for each other. I feel very fortunate to have made these friendships in multiple cities where I have lived and worked, especially here in Philadelphia, where a crazy work schedule has made me rely more on friends for help with my son, my mental health and keeping me healthy.

After a workout a few weeks ago, I mentioned to Stacey Hackett, (manager, and insanely challenging coach) at Solid Core in Bryn Mawr that I wanted to collect leggings for Savage Sisters, an organization that is doing incredible things to help women in Philadelphia. Stacey immediately said “I would love to help with this,” and reached out to Solid Core to see if we could partner for a clothing drive. A few days later, she said that not only were they were on board, the other two locations in Philly want to participate as well!

From December 2-17, Solid Core will have a bin to collect new and gently worn leggings, sweats and warm clothing for Savage Sisters.

For those who aren’t familiar with the nonprofit, here’s a little backstory…

When I interviewed Sarah Laurel, the founder of Savage Sisters about the opioid epidemic in Philadelphia, and why she feels compelled to help, she said, “I know what it feels like to be invisible.”

I had reached out to Sarah when I read about xylazine, a horse sedative, showing up in 90% of the city's dope supply. Knowing very little about opioid and people suffering from addiction, she was an invaluable resource.

Sarah started Savage Sisters in Kensington, which is considered ground zero for the drug crisis in Philly. She opened a “storefront” where people can come in for a shower, clean clothing, or just to call home. Sarah and her team regularly see the ravaging effects of these drugs. She says nothing surprises them when people walk through their doors.

"Here's the thing,” she said “the people that we serve in Kensington are not from Kensington. They are from all over the state. They come to Kensington and they get stuck here."

For weeks after the story aired, I heard from so many people who shared that someone they loved was dealing with addiction, or that they were concerned about the opioid crisis and wanted to help.

Together with my girlfriends, Jane Paradis and Kate Kenny, we held a “women lifting women” event to tell our friends about the work that Savage Sisters is doing, and to help fundraise for them. Sarah spoke about her experience with addiction and the work that they are doing to help others.

"I used to be homeless in Kensington,” she said, “I do know what it feels like to need a shower, to just need somebody to know my name.” There was not a dry eye in the room. Sarah, a beautiful person inside and out, is a daughter, sister and mother. She is all of us.

Sarah has devoted her life to helping others. I am in total awe of her. She is inspiring me to do more for others who need love and support.

I would love to host another special event for Savage Sisters, and am trying to think of unique ideas for next spring/summer. But for this month, someone will get a warm pair of yoga pants. It’s not a lot, but it’s a start. If you would like to get involved, or have something to donate, please reach out and I am happy to coordinate.

Thank you!

Instagram: @savagesistersrecovery


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