AN INTERVIEW WITH FOUR FEMALE FOUNDERS.
Can you describe The Porch Drop Club (TPDC) in 1-2 sentences?
Group: The Porch Drop Club (TPDC) is a mutual aid run by four moms who work together to bring waves of love to people in need across the nation. We focus on food insecurity and basic necessities. We're composed of Kacie Case (KC), Dana Hajek (DH), Cassie Kirkpatrick (CK), and Jessica Romito (JR).
How did this organization come to be?
JR: We started on Instagram when our founder, Kacie Case, asked for help to bring relief to an overwhelmed teacher. She didn’t come upon one large donation; instead she came upon hundreds of very small ones.
Can you share some examples of people or groups you have helped so far?
KC: When we first started, many of our nominations were for moms a lot like us. We want TPDC to feel like a network of moms dropping relief on each other’s porches, but we also want to make sure that underserved people are getting to experience this same feeling. During our Texas Winter Storm relief, we worked quickly to make sure we were reaching the right communities. While just about everyone in the state of Texas was hit by this storm, BIPOC communities were waiting longer for power and water to go back online. Walking through that experience with people who were stressed about their spoiled food supply really sharpened our focus.
From firsthand experience I can confidently say the people of Texas are very grateful for your relief services. How do you usually find those who need a helping hand, or how do they find you?
KC: In a year like we’ve all had, it’s exceptionally true that everyone has a story. Families are without jobs and insurance and it has created a lot of insecurity. We truly feel like the ways we are helping people are so small compared to all that they need, but we’re also just listening. Honoring exhausted moms, validating feelings, and checking back in with families is a big part of what we’re doing.
JR: We have a nomination form and we rely on word of mouth as well as people who have been on the receiving end of a Porch Drop who come back and nominate others.
One of our mottos at The Friyay Fuel is "everyone has a story", and we all need a little help sometimes to get to the next chapter. Thank you for all you're doing there! What has been one of the greatest lessons you've learned since launching TPDC that readers might find valuable as well?
JR: The greatest lesson I've learned that would be of value to your readers: it takes a team to make something great. TPDC could not function without all four of us working together in our individual roles--the sum is truly greater than its parts. No one of us is ever functioning at 100% all of the time, but with a team, knowing when to ask for help and when to set boundaries, we are able to keep TPDC running alongside our other commitments to our families, ourselves, and our careers.
DH: I have learned that support and relief can and should come in different ways- and together. Yes, many people we work with need financial support, but what they also need is to feel and be seen in the season they are in. In talking with nominees, I’ve found that holding space for their story and being a good listener is just as supportive as the financial support we give. We need to care for the whole person and this is one way we can do so. Another is by acknowledging the good hard work they are putting in to keep their head above water and how TPDC is there to encourage them through the work they are already doing.
What has been one of the biggest challenges you've had to overcome in order to successfully run TPDC?
JR: Growing quickly during our Texas Storm Relief and not yet having our paperwork complete or a bank account set up—we grew so much during those couple weeks. Figuring out that we are actually a mutual aid and not a nonprofit was a great unlearning experience.
KC: A challenge, in addition to all that we learned as we sprinted through Texas Storm Relief, is to make sure that we’re serving a diverse population. In our first few months, we felt like we were serving people like us and the truth is we are 4 middle class moms. We want to be accessible to people not like us, so outside of those crisis times like the Texas Storm, we want to make sure that our outreach and social media is getting out to BIPOC families.
DH: In addition to the challenges JR and KC have mentioned, I would add that a challenge I have encountered is the feeling of not being able to help enough. Wanting to do and give more to a nominee in the trenches, but knowing there’s a list of nominees waiting for support as well. It’s been nice to have each other to remind us in these moments that we may be taking care of a drop in the bucket, but it’s a drop less our nominees will carry. I’ve spoken with nominees who have said “this will free up so much emotional energy”. I remind myself of this when I start to think ‘is this enough?’.
That’s such a lovely reminder. What has been one of your favorite/happiest/most rewarding memories so far?
JR: Texas Winter Storm relief in February 2021 was so rewarding. It really solidified us as a team, but being able to provide such immediate, needed relief to so many was so heartwarming. It was amazing to see people within a community share our mutual aid as a way to receive a service they needed and to see others share us as a means to donate and help others. It was wonderful to see so many people share in and understand our mission.
DH: This one is easy for me- IRL porch droppers! Members of our community stepping up and filling in gaps to help us get to nominees as quickly as possible. Making runs to the store, driving across town, picking up hot meals, and then dropping it off on a stranger’s porch. The pictures of the meetings between Porch Droppers and nominees are some of my favorites.
How can readers get involved with TPDC today?
JR: Become a Patreon member, complete a one time donation via Venmo or PayPal, nominate yourself or someone you know who can use some support and meal relief via our nomination form. If you are a small shop or business owner you can get involved by reaching out to Jessica Romito at Jessica.email@example.com.
Thank you! Lastly, what fuels you up when you need an extra dose of motivation, or charges your batteries when it's time to take a break?
JR: The friendships we’ve created between the four of us. Most of our communication is in support of each other as women, moms, daughters, sisters, friends—TPDC is a happy perk. Also chips, salsa, guac, margs, and MEMES! Haha!
Cheers to that. Want to learn more about TPDC? Follow along here!
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