After the coronavirus hit many countries and cities all around the globe, Alaina Melichar, a former Manhasset resident, decided she needed to find a way to give back during this difficult time.
Melichar, who now lives in the United Kingdom, created a charitable project called Stay Home Hoodies, which sells sweatshirts and donates 100 percent of the proceeds to COVID-19-related charities in the United States and the United Kingdom.
“I grew up on Long Island and lived in NYC for many years so the current situation is quite personal,” Melichar said. “I live in London now so I feel detached from my friends and family at times. I wanted to start this project to help give back to my home state and country—while also helping here in the UK.”
The sales from each of the sweatshirts are split up equally between three charities, NHS Charities Together, the UK’s National Health Service, Feeding America’s COVID-19 response fund, the largest domestic hunger-relief organization in the US started a fund to route all donations directly to covid-related efforts and DirectRelief, which coordinates with public health authorities and businesses to provide hundreds of thousands of PPE to healthcare workers responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I selected these charities as I believe they offer the broadest reach across the countries they support,” Melichar said. “DirectRelief is particularly personal as I started this project one week after my mom was sent to the frontlines to assist coronavirus patients at [Winthrop] hospital. She is an x-ray technician in a smaller office whose skill set was essentially repurposed to help support nurses and assist with COVID-19 patients at the hospital. My mom is amazing and I am so proud to see how she has embraced the challenge. Given this, it was important that part of the funds raised from my project go to keep our healthcare workers protected with masks, gowns and other gear.”
Melichar began with a simple sweatshirt design which states the projects mission—to stay home and save lives. The sweatshirts retail for $40 and are offered in a variety of colors.
As of publication, the Stay Home Hoodie website had been viewed in more than 25 countries with sales in the UK, US, Germany, Ireland and Finland. Through her charitable project, Melichar has been able to raise a few thousand dollars so far.
“It is truly incredible and was very unexpected to see such support from all around the world,” Melichar said. “I am happy with the project’s success so far and looking forward to seeing everyone wear their hoodies in support for the amazing charities.”
Giving back during this time doesn’t stop at just sweatshirts, Melichar is currently on the waitlist to become an NHS Volunteer Responder whose job is to carry out non-medical tasks to help people in the UK.
“I definitely feel like this is only a very small part and there is a lot more to do via fundraising and volunteering,” she said.
To purchase a sweatshirt to support the COVID-19 related charities, visit www.stayhomehoodie.com.