Little Black Dress Initiative

JLM Aims to "Make Poverty Unfashionable"

The Junior League of Morristown enters its third time participating in the week-long social media-driven fundraising campaign the week of November 12-16, 2018. LBDI uses the iconic "little black dress" to raise awareness about poverty in Morris County, especially among teens. 

The Junior League of London in February 2014 created the LBDI with an important goal: to "Make Poverty Unfashionable." During Fashion Week, when other Londoners were celebrating all things fashion, members chose to wear the same black dress every day to work, parties, and events to raise funds and increase awareness of poverty in their city. Since then, the LBDI has come stateside, with dozens of Leagues across the country participating within their own communities.  

During LBDI Week, historically held in the month of November, JLM members wear the same black dress or outfit with a button that urged the public to "Ask Me About My Dress" to act as a visual representation of the lack of choice and limited opportunities faced by those living in poverty and struggling with food insecurity in our community. In our inagural year, 30 members particpated and in 2017 36 members joined to help "Make Poverty Unfashionable!", raising over $40,000 to date.

How is JLM Making A Difference?

The LBDI is more than little black dresses because the women who wear them are powerful forces of change. By participating in the LBDI, League members are reinforcing our community impact area, addressing the unmet needs of teens in Morris County and the surrounding area to ensure ample food, resources and education are provided to develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Our key community programs & projects include.

Children Making Healthy Choices: Educates children, including teens and their families about the importance of leading healthy lifestyles. With the support of the Interfaith Food Pantry, our primary community partner, the CMHC conducts series of interactive cooking workshops to educate families how to prepare quick, healthy meals using ingredients available at the food pantry. CMHC also conducts wellness programs at Daytop Village, a residential substance treatment facility that addresses the needs of adolescents in Mendham, NJ, to promote exercise, meditation and healthy eating.

Closet Committe: JLM partners with schools and community organizations, such as Morristown High School and Neighborhood House, to assess teen needs and assist in providing essential personal care and nutritional items.  It is our goal to continue to expand our support through providing similar services to other teens in need in our community.

Through our Helping Hands Committee, we routinely provide local agencies with hands on assistance for specific programs and projects. A few organizations that work to provide food, resources and education in our community are:

    • Homeless Solutions
    • Interfaith Food Pantry
    • Jersey Battered Women’s Service
    • Morristown Neighborhood House
    • Morris County Habitat for Humanity

Why is this campaign necessary?

  • Morris County has 5,286 children living under the Federal Poverty Guideline. The 2018 Federal Poverty Guideline for a family 4 is $25,100 per year. *

  • As of the 2017-2018 school year, 6,994 in Morris County are receiving free or reduced lunch.+

  • The fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Morris County is $1,308 a month. In order to afford this apartment, a household would need to earn over $52,000 per year. At the New Jersey minimum wage of $8.44 an hour- that’s 119 hours per week, 52 weeks a year! **

  • According to 2016 data, 29% of Morris County’s 181,000 households, 52,490 households are too income constrained to afford the basic costs of housing, food, child care, health care and transportation.#

  • The basic household survival budget in Morris County, which includes basic needs like housing, transportation, childcare, healthcare, and food, is $81,552 for a family of two adults, an infant and toddler to afford the basics. #

*State of NJ Department of Human Services Medicaid Communication No. 18-01

#2018 ALICE Report from the United Way

 **Family Promise Morris County

+2018 New Jersey Kids Count from Advocates for Children of New Jersey

Time, Talent and Treasure - we all have something to contribute!

  • Join Us: Junior League of Morristown members can join the challenge and wear the same LBD during the campaign week. Click here to register. Participants will receive a welcome packet which will include tips, sample social media posts, and materials for a successful week.   
  • Donate to the Cause:  Click here to make a donation to the JLM LBDI Donation page.Help us raise in five days what a family of four needs for a year as determined by the Federal Poverty Guideline - in 2018, $25,100. Monies raised will support the League’s mission of promoting the health and wellness of Morris-area teens and related community projects.
  • Support Our Community Partners:
    • Donate new or slightly worn professional items to Dress for SuccessNorthern New Jersey.  During the 2018 campaign, JLM members have the opprotunity to donate theor dresses.
    • Donate feminine hygiene products to Girls Helping Girls. Period. During the 2018 campaign, JLM members collected feminine hygiene products and assembled menstruation kits for distribution at local middle and high schools.
    • Donate personal hygiene items to Homeless Solutions, Inc. (HSI) During the 2018 campaign, JLM members collected travel size personal hygiene products and assembled kits for HSI‘s Code Blue clients, those who are homeless and need care when the temperature drops in the winter.
  • Increase Awareness: Throughout the week, JLM will be taking to social media with important poverty facts, figures and posting our experiences. Follow us using hashtags #JLMwearsLBD and #MakingPovertyFashionable.