When Charlotte Mack moved to the United States from India as a child, she was nervous about beginning life in a strange new world. But as soon as she and her family arrived in Jacksonville, Florida, those fears began melting away. "The Jacksonville community really embraced us and I've always wanted to give back because of it," she tells us.
When she turned 14, Charlotte began making good on her desire to give back by becoming a volunteer at Mayo Clinic in Florida. But even after earning a doctorate of nursing practice degree from the University of North Florida and working as a nurse, she wanted to do more. So along with her husband, Anwar Mack, M.D., a resident in Mayo Clinic's Department of Pain Medicine, Charlotte launched Givlets, a subscription-based company that makes it "easy-peasy lemon-squeezy" for anyone to help the homeless.
"Sometimes you have an impulse to do something. You look around your car and you don't have anything. You might have some change," Dr. Mack tells News4Jax.com. "We wanted to make this so easy that you could literally just go to your passenger's seat, grab something and you're giving something that they can use, and it's helpful."
Each Givlet, according to the company's website, includes a nonperishable snack, a pair of socks, a "high-quality" toothbrush (and toothpaste), three packages of "moist towelettes for basic hygiene," lotion, Band-Aids, a bar of soap and deodorant. "We're still working on fine-tuning our care packages and as we go out and do our Give-a-Thons, we ask recipients to look through the boxes and tell us if there's anything else they'd like or need," Charlotte tells us.
That leads us nicely to the second part of the Givlets business model. While you're certainly encouraged to order your own pack of five Givlets to be delivered to your front door monthly or quarterly and then handed out as you see fit, the Macks will also do the giving for you. "We hold Give-a-Thons every three months in different cities across the country to give out care packages on behalf of people who donate online," Charlotte says.
While those quarterly Give-a-Thons bring out a lot of giving, what they don't bring out are the same recipients. "Every time we do our Give-a-Thons in Jacksonville alone there are more and different people," Charlotte says. "We never see the same people twice."
Which drills straight down to the heart and purpose of Givlets. "Homelessness is a growing problem in our country," Charlotte says. "Sometimes, all it takes is missing a couple of paychecks or a string of bad luck or two for people to end up in these kinds of situations. And so we think giving them a small box of a few basic necessities can go a long way toward helping to change their whole perspective on life and the world — at least for that day."
You can listen to the Macks talk more about Givlets in this interview with News4Jax.com. Then give us something to talk about by sharing your comments below before using the handy social media tools to share this story with others.