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Second Shift: Using her time off to help those in need

New Yorker Vanessa Bracetty started a non-profit that helps homeless women and children with her sisters.

Vanessa Bracetty, 28, started a charity to help homeless mothers and children with her two sisters. Credit: Provided Vanessa Bracetty, 28, started a charity with her two sisters to help homeless mothers and children.
Credit: Provided

Our Second Shift series features people who work more than one job or have creative ways of making money. This week, meet a woman who devotes all her free time to a charity that helps NYC's homeless mothers and children. Want to be featured? Email emily.laurence@metro.us.

Name: Vanessa Bracetty
Age: 28
Residency: East New York, Brooklyn
Lives with: Her mom and sister
Number of jobs: 2

What are your two jobs?

During the day, I work in the medical billing field, so I call patients to collect funds. After work and on the weekends, I work on a charity I founded with my sisters, Expecting Relief. We started it in 2011, when a friend of ours wound up pregnant and living in a shelter. We were providing for her, but minor, inexpensive items started missing. Instead of [getting mad], we turned it into a positive situation. We formed this organization to help parents and children who are homeless or in shelters by meeting their basic needs so they can focus on finding a home and getting a job.

How does the charity work?

We collect clothing donations, wash the clothes and then distribute them to shelters. I found a directory of shelters online, so I call them and we will deliver it. The goal is in five years to have a commercial space so people can come to us instead of us coming to them. Right now, we work out of our homes.

Do you hold events?

We do. This year we had a children's fashion show and a Shop My Closet event, which both went really well. With the money we get from these fundraisers, we throw events for people in need, like a first birthday party for children living in shelters, or a crafts day where kids who live in shelters take field trips to museums and also get to do their own arts and crafts.

You are expanding Expecting Relief to include a clothing line.

Yes. It's called Dream Apparel because every child has dreams. When you purchase a T-shirt for yourself you are also purchasing one for a child in need. Right now it is just T-shirts, and on the back of every T-shirt is an inspirational quote for kids. We hope to expand it to include other apparel soon, like polos and button-down shirts that will include kids' personal quotes and art.

What is your next event?

I am starting a service called On The Go Boxes, which launches October 26 and will be a personal birthday gift to myself. Every month I will be putting together boxes (along with volunteers) containing food, drinks and snacks for people who call the streests there home. We will walk the streets handing out boxes with inspirational quotes to let them know it is never to late for a change. ... I have more time on my hands since I dont have children and I like to use my time to service others, this is my passion.

Do donate, visit expectingrelief.org or call 347-419-4528.

Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence

 

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