#BlackLivesMatter in the DMV–THANK YOU!

On Monday, June 1st, I had no idea how I would contribute to the uprisings happening around the country. I donated money and ready the news but it didn’t feel like enough. Because it wasn’t. So, I put out a call. A local church was collecting donations of supplies to be given to the protesters here in D.C..

Five days later, almost 60 people sent me $1,500 personally. Below is a breakdown of how I spent the money that you all so generously sent to me.

This post is not meant to virtue signal by any means but to show the incredible people who donated how their money was spent. This is what mutual aid and community care truly looks like. Thank you all so, so much for caring about the people of D.C. and the movement for Black lives enough to open your wallets. And thank you for trusting me enough to use your money appropriately.

I want to specifically thank Hannah Ruth Wellons for carrying, sorting, volunteering, and dropping off with me this week. I love you very much.

The first round of supplies I purchased totaled $245 from Safeway (not including things from around my apartment I donated as well). This was dropped off at Luther Place on Tuesday.

  • 37 boxes of gallon zip lock bags (15/box=555 bags)
  • 2 18-pack 12oz Gatorades (36 bottles total)
  • 1 phone battery pack
  • 3 2 oz bottles of hand sanitizer
  • 50 nature valley bars
  • 1 box baking soda
  • 1 16 oz bottle of saline
  • 6 tubes triple antibiotic ointment (1 oz each)
  • 1 tube first aid antibiotic cream/pain relief .5 oz
  • 11 boxes of bandaids (340 brandaids)
  • 2 boxes 3×3 Gauze pads (20 pads total)
  • 3 boxes 3×4 gauze pads (30 pads total)
  • 3 bottles of bactine (5 oz each)
  • 4 bottles alocane burn gel (3.75 oz)
  • 2 bottles betadine (8 oz each)
  • 1 bottle solarcaine cool aloe (4.5 oz)

I purchased the second round of medical supplies on Wednesday which totaled $265, also from Safeway.

  • 7 latex gloves 50 each—350 total
  • 1 box powder free vinyl gloves—120
  • 5 boxes cold packs, 10 total
  • 6 tubes triple antibiotic ointment, .5 oz. each
  • 4 boxes saline solution, 8 total, 10 fl oz bottle
  • 10 ibruprofen bottles, 40 each, 200mg
  • 8 bottles hydrogen peroxide, 32 oz each
  • 17 boxes of band aids, various sizes, 950 total
  • 3 boxes of gauze rolls, 3×2.5 yds each
  • 3 boxes of gauze pads, 3×3 yds each

Shoutout to my Safeway card! On the first trip, I saved 22% or about $70 and the second trip I saved almost $175, or 40% of my cost:

My workplace also generously donated a handful of supplies:

  • 4 bottles hand sanitizer, 2 oz each
  • 3 packs alcohol wipes, 10 each pack
  • 1 box disposable face masks; 50
  • 10 battery packs
  • Assorted packaged snacks

On Wednesday, Hannah Ruth saw a post in a local theater Facebook group that the Woolly Mammoth Theater Company would be participating in the call to #OpenYourLobby by providing a physical space, bathrooms, food and snacks, water, first aid, and charging stations to anyone who was demonstrating. We both signed up for shifts from 10 am-2 pm Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

My third supply run was to Target on Thursday in anticipation of those shifts. I totaled $190 of supplies. I also got in contact with my medic friend Isaac who drove down from Connecticut to volunteer with us on Friday. I reimbursed him for $132 worth of supplies he bought on his way down. He sent me a list of supplies I should also purchase:

  • 2 bottles sunscreen cream 16 oz each spf 30
  • 3 cans sunscreen spray 11 oz spf 50
  • 5 boxes gauze 2×2 10/box 
  • 5 boxes nonstick pads 3×4 10/box
  • 2 box assorted size tampons 34/box
  • 2 pairs small scissors 
  • 3 sharpies 
  • 6 large sharpies
  • 10 pens
  • 4 boxes earplugs 12 pairs/box
  • 3 rolls gauze 2”x2.5yards
  • 3 rolls gauze 4”x2.5yards
  • 8 rolls elastic wrap 3”x1.6 yrds
  • 2 rolls paper tape 1”x10 yrds 
  • 3 bags sock 10/bag 

On Friday morning, Hannah Ruth, Isaac, and I brought everything we had purchased (except for the first round of supplies which went to Luther Place) to the Woolly Mammoth Theater Company where we set up the medical supply station. Throughout the days on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday we recieved more medical supplies (bandaids in particular) that we truly could ever need.

So, we created kits for people experiencing homelessness here in D.C. who were impacted significantly by COVID and the protests that occurred. And on Sunday, I took the majority of the leftover medical supplies to create more kits for folks experiencing homelessness.

This required using most of the remaining funds on Sunday and today to create 100 complete first-aid kits for folks experiencing homelessness. The first trip cost $377 and the second cost $214. I purchased enough sunscreen, hand sanitizer, and alcohol swabs to complete the kits, which filled two blue Ikea bags. The receipts are extremely long as you can see. All of the remaining supplies (a TON of bandaids, a few rolls of gauze, some gauze pads, and other misc. supplies) are also getting donating as well. Each individual kit has:

  • 1 disposable face mask
  • 1 bottle of sunscreen
  • 1 bottle of hand sanitizer
  • 2 alcohol swabs
  • 10 regular sized bandaids
  • 2 large bandaids
  • 2 gauze pads

Math, friends, is not my strong suit. But I’ve been diligently tracking the money sent to me and the money I’ve spent. I received $1,446 and spent $1,423. That left a remaining balance of $23, which I’ve donated to Black Lives Matter DC.

Again, this is not meant to virtue signal. This is a way for me to show all of the incredible folks who have sent me funds exactly what their money went to: helping protesters, supporting folks experiencing homelessness, and uplifting the work of Black Lives Matter. Mutual aid is racial justice and this week we all helped make that a little bit more of a reality.

If you have any questions, drop me a line at hi@stephblack.blog.

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