The Andrew and Mary P. O'Neal Cares Project, is a 501(c)(3) Non Profit with the purpose of enhancing the well being of its surrounding community through collaborative efforts with the musical community, and other organizations. During these difficult times around the world, there are many who so desperately need a helping hand. Please open your hearts. 100% of your donations to this organization will go towards supporting various social service programs and causes. All donors will be listed on the WCJS Hall of Fame - no matter the amount.
There are many things that I am thankful for in my life: my wonderful children, my husband, and the fact that I have a roof over my head, food on the table, air conditioning during the summer, and heat during the winter. No, it doesn't mean that I am a millionaire who is capable of giving thousands of dollars at the drop of a hat. It means that God has been constantly looking over me, and I am truly blessed.
What people don't know about me is that for a short period of time I was homeless...for nearly 6 months to be exact. My job had been eliminated. And, at that time, I will say that I was a young woman who thought she had things made. Losing my job that way never crossed my mind. I lost virtually everything. I was most humbled by the incident, because I was, at that time, working on issues to assure that advantage was not being taken of others. I had become the other.
One of my most painful experiences during that time was when someone I didn't know, a friend of a friend, allowed me to stay in her home for a few weeks. I had no clothes, so she lent me what clothing her eldest daughter left behind. I had a job interview one day. It was a two hour bus ride, each way, from where I was staying. I can remember so vividly how I attempted to match the perfect outfit for my upcoming interview. To be perfectly honest, it was a fashion disaster.
Anyway, I made the effort to go out, and get that job. When I arrived for the interview, the gentleman who owned the company sat and started looking over my resume. When he finished reading, I simply waited for the interview to begin. But, we never got that far. Without knowing my ordeal, he proceeded to tell me that I needed to read "What Color is Your Parachute" so that I would know how to dress appropriately for an interview. He stated that my credentials were exemplary; but, presentation was key for the position. Those words still resonate in my ears today. It was then that I made the determination, when I got back on my feet, to NEVER stop working to assist those less fortunate - no matter the need, no matter the cost.
The Benefit Concert is in honor of my mother, soprano and educator, Mary Patricia O'Neal, who unconditionally committed herself to the advancement of children and families in need; my father, who was the consummate jazz lover; and, the extension and dedication to the well being of my community. My most recent endeavors include raising funds to to support the fight against child sex trafficking, and assisting to enhance the education and well being of children in Ghana. However, my work is not done. Far too many are suffering in our world. There are hundreds of thousands, no millions, of people who are less fortunate than I, and require some sort of assistance. And, there are those who fall through the cracks because of income.
By conducting concerts to raise funds for selected social causes, the Andrew and Mary P. O'Neal Cares Benefit Concert Project is designed to help seal as many cracks as possible for those less fortunate -- allowing those in need to maintain a speck of dignity during hard times. In the spirit of keeping jazz alive, the Andrew and Mary P. O'Neal Cares Benefit Concert Project also affords indie jazz artists the opportunity to give back to the community by participating in these concerts while, at the same time, working to further extend community support for this iconic genre of music.
MY BABY NEEDS CLOTHES
I had an infant and children store, and in 2004, I started donating part of my inventory to help young mothers. I met a young woman, a girl actually, who had just been thrown out of her parents home, because she had gotten pregnant. 16, with a baby, and afraid, Janet was hovering, and crying in the doorway of a shop in Georgetown one evening. After hearing her story, I called her parents, and asked them if it was all right for me to take Janet, and baby Rhonda, to my home overnight. Yeah, I get too involved sometimes. So I've heard. Anyway, while chatting with Janet in my kitchen I found out that no one had helped this child prepare for her child. Rhonda had no diapers, no other clothing, bottles, blankets, or toys. So, I went through my inventory. That's when I came up with the idea of donating some of my merchandise to young mothers.