One New York-based initiative is trying to heat up the winter for the homeless through music and visual art.
“Hoodies for the Homeless” founder Tavis Eaton has worked tirelessly to get 30,000 hoodies as well as blankets, coats and other items out to those in need during the colder seasons, securing donations all over New York City as well as other cities, including Boston and New Jersey. Last December, the organization collected 10,000 hoodies at MetLife Stadium with the help of the New York Giants.
On Wednesday evening (Feb. 8), Eaton and his team put together an art auction that took place at a large galleria in the SoHo area of Manhattan, in which hundreds of guests came out to learn more about the cause.
Eaton, a musician and ex-Marine, says of HFTH’s mission, “We did research with a bunch of homeless shelters of what they need or request. Socks and hoodies came up much more than coats. For a hoodie, if you pull it down over you, it’s like a roof over your head.”
Inside the event, guests spread across the large studio, where they were greeted with instructions for donations, the red carpet treatment and complimentary drinks at the bar. Attendees were able to explore the gallery’s vast art displays up for auction. With pieces scattered throughout the venue by artists Balazs Bercsenyi, Rodrigo Canteras, Amy Elizabeth, Kaname Mouri and Anthony Low, among others, there were also 15 mannequins uniquely designed by the city’s best street and tattoo artists that represented the 60,000 homeless individuals currently in shelters across the city and revealed a heartbreaking statistic about the homeless epidemic.
“Most of my inspiration has been New York while living here and growing up here,” said Eaton, a Brooklyn native. “I can’t walk down the street without seeing one or two homeless people. A lot of people don’t know this, but there are more homeless in the street right now than there was during The Great Depression.”
Following a set by DJ Holite, Eaton took the stage to welcome the crowd to the auction event and thank guests for their support. He was joined by his own band, PushMethod, who have been working together on the “Hoodies” initiative for years through donation concerts and various appearances. The band performed some of their original material like “How We Get Down” and “Get Lost,” as well as cover songs, including A Tribe Called Quest’s “Can I Kick It” as a tribute to the late Phife Dawg.
Keeping the crowd on their feet, PushMethod passed the microphone to Pro Era’s Kirk Knight and Nyck Caution, who dazzled guests with some of their hype tracks such as the A$AP Ferg-collaborated “Setup,” “What’s Understood,” and “Far.” They even gifted ears with some newer material off of their upcoming joint project, Nyck At Knight. The duo were inspired by Eaton’s initiative, and explained to us what. Fellow Pro Era member Joey Bada$$ was also spotted at the DJ booth during Scram Jones’ set. The pair were inspired by Eaton’s initiative and explained their involvement.
“Off the subject of the emailing telling us [about the cause], we were on board. It’s a charitable event, and it makes sense. It’s not about money. Someone’s actually going to wear that hoodie that was donated,” explained Caution.
Knight followed up with a personal note, adding, “I was at a point in my life where I didn’t really have a home. I really understand that aspect of not feeling welcome everywhere you try to go, and people try to keep you down until you’re nothing. So my way to connect is to donate clothing. I just donated a whole box of it off the love. This is something that actually gives back to a lot of people that’s in need.”
As the evening came to a close, Eaton shared his plans to take “Hoodies for the Homeless” to the next level. “I would love to launch a Hoodies for the Homeless Tour around the country,” he said. “[I’d love to] get a couple of big artists on the tour, travel the country, go to every state, and tackle the issue in each area.”
Click here for more information on “Hoodies for the Homeless.”