Community//

Social Impact Heroes: How Madeleine Park is helping hundreds of homeless people with hygiene and care

There are many different aspects to homelessness and reasons behind why one becomes homeless. The root that connects them all is simply, “someone has fallen on hard times.” The hard times could be anything, but the key focal point is, “another human needs help.” Three things our community/society/politicians can do to address this: To influence the […]


There are many different aspects to homelessness and reasons behind why one becomes homeless. The root that connects them all is simply, “someone has fallen on hard times.” The hard times could be anything, but the key focal point is, “another human needs help.” Three things our community/society/politicians can do to address this:

To influence the public that it shouldn’t matter why or how someone is homeless but instead that they ARE homeless and still need the community’s help.

Create opportunities for the community to actively get involved and help their homeless community, other than donating money.

Partner with organizations whose mission is to help homeless communities. We always need more help!

Mostly, to be vocal about the issue. Share on social media and talk to your friends and family. Awareness is the best driver for change.


As part of my series about “companies and organizations making an important social impact,I had the pleasure of interviewing Madeleine Park. Madeleine is a marketing & branding professional who has used her expertise to start a 501(c)3 nonprofit, Together She Can. Together She Can works to help the homeless communities with hygiene care. They partner with all of the major homeless shelters in the Boston area to provide hygiene gift bags and life classes on recurring basis. They have also secured partnerships with Sephora, Giving Tuesday, Garnet Hill, Warby Parker, Girl Scouts of America, and more. Park has been honored as Boston’s Women of The Week, honored by Boston’s City Council and has spoken at prestigious universities across New England.


Thank you so much for doing this with us Madeleine! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Thank you for having me! I have always had a love for helping others. In 2016, I was cleaning out my home when I realized I had tons of extra toiletry items. Not wanting to throw them away, I decided to make hygiene gift bags and carry them around with me for people in need.

The idea took off! People love being able to clean out items they don’t need and gift them to people that do. Now we are an official 501(c)3 and partner with all of the major homeless shelters in the Boston area. We provide toiletry items and hygiene gift bags on a recurring basis.

To date, we have gifted over 7,000 hygiene gift bags and provided over 50 life programs to people in need. We are excited to announce that we are actively expanding across the United States!

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

There have been a lot of eye-opening moments I’ve experienced since starting Together She Can. The issues that homeless people deal with on a daily basis are things I’ve never even thought of before.

  1. Noise level when sleeping. Homeless shelters and the streets are loud. Even with ear plugs, it is almost impossible to get a restful night’s sleep.
  2. Many homeless people are not allowed into stores. For fear of theft or lack of proper hygiene, many homeless people are not welcome in most stores.
  3. Not all homeless people are alcoholics or drug addicts. In fact, many are just people who are struggling to make ends meet especially as housing rents continue to increase.
  4. It is really difficult to get any type of job because applications and legal paperwork require a home address.
  5. Shelters have a maximum capacity that is reached every night. Many shelters have a lottery for beds. Simple because there are shelters does not mean they have a place to stay every night. If you do have a job but have to work late, there is a good chance you will not make it in time to have a bed.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The funniest mistake I made when I first started Together She Can was not realizing the need for an office/storage space for all the donated toiletry items. Early on, we were not able to get the donations out as fast as they were coming in (a great problem to have!) At one point my kitchen was completely full of hygiene items, floor to ceiling. I was even storing soaps in my oven!

Can you describe how your organization is making a significant social impact?

Together She Can is making a significant social impact by helping homeless people get the products and services they need to maintain proper hygiene. Our goal is to provide enough products and services that people in-need don’t need to spend their time, money, or efforts on basic health and wellness. We live in a world of product abundance, we are trying to make a two-way impact that gives people the opportunity to take things they don’t need and give them to people who do. Buy less and give more!

Wow! Can you tell me a story about a particular individual who was impacted this cause?

There have been so many people that have helped Together She Can along the way. From donations to partnerships to volunteers, you really see the good in humanity. One individual in particular has been with us from the start, Alex Summers. Alex works as a designer for the high-end clothing company Garnet Hill. She was able to help us “garner” an ongoing partnership with them while personally going above and beyond to help Together She Can. We would not be where we are without her and are so grateful to have her as part of our family.

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

There are many different aspects to homelessness and reasons behind why one becomes homeless. The root that connects them all is simply, “someone has fallen on hard times.” The hard times could be anything, but the key focal point is, “another human needs help.” Three things our community/society/politicians can do to address this:

  1. To influence the public that it shouldn’t matter why or how someone is homeless but instead that they ARE homeless and still need the community’s help.
  2. Create opportunities for the community to actively get involved and help their homeless community, other than donating money.
  3. Partner with organizations whose mission is to help homeless communities. We always need more help!
  4. Mostly, to be vocal about the issue. Share on social media and talk to your friends and family. Awareness is the best driver for change.

How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

I define “leadership” as the ability to create and/or act on ideas while helping others to do the same.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

Hmm, the 5 things I wish someone told me when I first started Together She Can are:

1. You cannot help everyone with everything. When you start working with people in need, it is easy to get “too-involved” in every story. Your desire to fulfill all their needs/wants can drain your resources. Stick to your plan and work to help as many as possible with the resources you have.

2. Communication isn’t always easy. In a normal business setting, communication is easy to do via email, cell phone, in-person, etc. When you are dealing with communities of people that don’t have access to digital communication, communicating and planning takes extra effort and planning.

3. Ask for help. People want to help but you have to give them the opportunity to do so. Once you do, you realize how much more you can accomplish!

4. Get professional legal advice. There are a lot of nuisances that come when creating an official 501(c)3. To ensure that you are following all the correct protocols, it is best to have a professional take a look at everything. It will save you time and money down the road!

5. Listen. When you start your own company or organization, you get so used to telling others about it, what you do, and what you need it is easy to forget to listen. There is a lot of value in listening to others. You can gain valuable tips, advice, and knowledge from anyone, anywhere, at any time.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would hope to inspire a Together She Can movement! It is such a simple, easy concept. I would love for people all over the world to get involved by helping those in need with hygiene care. Contact us to host a drive in your area!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My favorite “Life Lesson Quote” would be: “I can’t be as good as I am, unless I am helping the next person.”

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

I would love to sit down with Ellen DeGeneres. She is an amazing woman and has made a career out of helping people. Would love to get her advice on how she handles selecting who she helps, how much she helps them, and how she is able to deal with the reality that we can’t help everyone (even though she wants to.) Ellen, call me! ☺

How can our readers follow you on social media?

You can find us here:

Facebook: @TogetherSheCan

Instagram: @togethershecan

Linkedin: Together She Can

Website: togethershecan.org

This was very meaningful, thank you so much!

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