Ashley Gray is another 20 something in Winston Salem working to make her dreams come true. She created The Beautiful Exchange, a wonderful concept that began as a "spring cleaning" project and has evolved into a non-profit organization. I was amazed when I moved back to Winston and saw all the great things she was doing in the area to help young girls in need. It started in Ashley’s closet when she decided to get rid of pieces she hadn’t touched in years and some she had NEVER worn. There were so many clothes, that she thought there has to be someone that has a need for them instead of giving them to Goodwill. From that simple act, she came up with this idea to give the clothes away to young girls, it was constantly on her mind and she could not stop thinking about it. This is where she then developed The Beautiful Exchange. She gathers clothes for young ladies in need, ages 10 to 21, then sets up a boutique shopping experience for them to come and get what they need.
She shared with me that in the beginning some places she tried to go through did not want her help and at first it was hard to try to find the right way to reach young ladies in need. However, she has been running into more people that love what she is doing and want to help out in whatever way they can, making it easier for her and her team. Ashley met a lady at the Stokes Family YMCA that provided her with a room, storage, and has even helped get more volunteers; all because she wanted to be a part of The Beautiful Exchange. They have thrown "Give-a-way" events in Winston Salem, Lexington and the next location will be King!
This weekend I was able to volunteer at the "Sorting Party". The amount of clothes, shoes, and accessories that had been donated was unbelievable! I believed I sorted over 50 pairs of shoes by myself (bear in mind I wasn’t sorting the clothes alone, there were other volunteers, there was way more to sort, and I was not there the entire day). I was amazed by everyone there helping but even more amazed by the really nice things that were donated to give away to these young girls. Overall, I can only imagine the joy The Beautiful Exchange receives as they see the joy on the young ladies faces when they give these clothes away.
There will be another "Sorting Party" where you can come volunteer and help prepare clothes to be given away Saturday May 2nd, then the official giveaway will be May 16th. if you are anything like me I am sure you have clothes you’ve never worn that a young girl would love to have, The Beautiful Exchange has a donation box at Junkies in Rural Hall and Stokes Family YMCA. You can also like their Facebook page!
Come out Saturday, May 23 to Delurk Art Gallery and meet the owner, Ashley Gray, of The Beautiful Exchange, as well as Truth Life Revoltion and artist, Caden Wright. Enjoy entertainment, door prizes, food and drinks!!! Stay tuned for more info!