The Little Black Dress Initiative

Little Black Dress Initiative Logo

What is the Little Black Dress Initiative?

The Little Black Dress Initiative (LBDI) is a global initiative started by the Junior League of London to raise awareness of the impact of poverty.

The Junior League of St. Joseph, Mo., (JLSJ) will hold their inaugural Little Black Dress Initiative from May 8th through 12th, 2017. During this week, JLSJ members will wear the same little black dress for five consecutive days to symbolically illustrate the effects poverty can have on society. Participants are encouraged to raise awareness by using social media, and by wearing a button that reads “Ask Me About My Dress.”  Members will invite and welcome dialogue among colleagues, friends, and strangers to raise awareness about the effects of poverty and raise funds to support the JLSJ and two of our partner agencies.

How can you help?

Spread the word! Help us build awareness using social media platforms by sharing our posts, or participate yourself by wearing a little black dress from May 8th through the 12th.

Donate to the cause! Our goal for the 2017 LBDI is to raise $1,000. Look for the “Support the Cause! Donate Now” button on this page!

Who will benefit from funds raised?

Money raised during this awareness and fundraising campaign will support the JLSJ, Second Harvest Community Food Bank, and other partner agencies.

Second Harvest Community Food Bank is a nonprofit food distribution center serving 19 counties across northwest Missouri and northeast Kansas. They distribute food through a network of over 100 partner agencies located throughout the service area, 21 of which are located in St. Joseph, and throughout their direct service programs.

Second Harvest’s vision is for a hunger-free northwest Missouri and northeast Kansas.

Second Harvest Community Food Bank logo

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Missouri’s poverty rate is 15.5% overall, and over 21% for children. In real numbers, poverty in Missouri impacts over 908,628 individuals, and 287,081 of those are children who have little control over the situation.

Child Poverty in Missouri

Missouri has the seventh highest food insecurity rate in the country, with 16.8% of its population classified as food insecure. In addition, 7.9% of Missourians have very low food security, meaning there are “multiple indications of disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake.”

Missourians living in poverty are more vulnerable to experiencing the following:

  • No healthcare insurance
  • Lower life expectancies
  • Increased risk of chronic diseases, diabetes, heart disease, and weight gain
  • Mental health issues of psychological distress, anxiety, depression and suicide
  • Substandard housing carrying additional cost burdens.

For more information, download the 2016 Missouri Poverty Report. 

“Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.” – Nelson Mandela

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